Radiation damage to the erythrocyte membrane: The effects of medium and cell concentrations

Alexander Pribush, Galila Agam, Tikva Yermiahu, Alexander Dvilansky, Dan Meyerstein, Naomi Meyerstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Human erythrocytes suspended in plasma, or in phosphate buffered saline (PBS), were exposed to ionizing radiation. Potassium leakage from irradiated erythrocytes is significantly higher in PBS than in plasma. The potassium leakage decreases when PBS is gradually replaced by plasma. These findings suggest that some of the plasma constituents have radioprotective properties. The potassium leakage per cell is independent of the hematocrit, Hct. The potassium leakage is attributed to the formation of radiation defects in the membrane. Analysis of the effect of radiation dose, plasma and cell concentrations on the product of the number and surface area of the radiation defects indicates that the radiation damage is mainly due to the direct formation of free radicals in the cell membrane. The radioprotective effect of plasma is attributed to surface reactions of these free radicals with plasma constituents adsorbed on the membrane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-146
Number of pages12
JournalFree Radical Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Erythrocyte membrane
  • External medium
  • Hematocrit
  • Irradiation
  • Potassium leakage


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