PMID: 58995May 1, 1976

The use of ionophores of rapid loading of human red cells with radioactive cations for cation-pump studies

The Journal of Membrane Biology
B SarkadiG Gárdos


Techniques are described for the rapid loading of intact human red cells with radioactive isotopes of alkali cations or Ca2+ by using ionophorous compounds (nigericin, gramicidin D and A 23187). Loading was rapid and efficient if the membrane potential of the cells was rendered more negative inside. After cation loading the ionophores could be bound to albumin and removed by repeated washings. The ATP and 2,3-DPG contents of the cells were practically unaltered by this treatment. Passive membrane permeability to Na+ and Ca2+ returned to normal. Loaded erythrocytes pumped out Na+ in a ouabain-sensitive and Ca2+ in a lanthanum-sensitive way. Ca2+ -loaded red cells were microspherocytes and exhibited a rapid K+ -efflux. Parallel with the extrusion of Ca2+ cells regained their biconcave shape and normal passive permeability to K+.


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