2Karazin Kharkov National University, pl. Svobody 4, 61077 Kharkov, Ukraine
* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received January 15, 2010; Revision received March 10, 2010
Changes in erythrocyte shape during morphological response modified by benzalkonium chloride (BzA) were studied in sucrose solutions. Fixation of the cells with glutaraldehyde- and formaldehyde-containing fixatives at some time points is usually inadequate to maintain the current cell shape. Considering the reconstruction of erythrocyte shape, which takes into account the mode of fixative action, we showed that the echinocyte-forming activity of BzA depends on the concentration of this surfactant. It can induce a direct spherostomatocyte–spheroechinocyte transition without altering the near-spherical shape of the cells. On the other hand, the reverse spheroechinocyte–spherostomatocyte transition was always accompanied by some flattening of the cells, although in some instances discoidal shape was not achieved. The data point to asymmetric shape transitions of erythrocytes in sucrose solution, which contradicts the continuum and bilayer-couple models of shape regulation. It seems that the nonuniform structure of native erythrocyte membrane plays a more important role in morphological transitions of these cells than suggested earlier.
KEY WORDS: erythrocyte, red blood cell, shape, morphological transition, morphological response, sucrose, benzalkonium chloride