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Red blood cell deformability: Effect of age and smoking

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Abstract

The effects of the aging process of healthy subjects on red blood cell membrane deformability and how this parameter changes with smoking were investigated using the micropipette aspiration technique. In this method, a portion of the cell membrane is aspirated into a micropipette via a step negative pressure and the membrane modulus of elasticity is calculated using the viscoelastic models. Red blood cells were obtained from 18 non-smoking (8 females and 10 males) and 18 smoking (10 females and 8 males) subjects. All smoking subjects were chronic smokers (smoked for at least 2 years and smoked more than 1 pack/day). The age of the subjects ranged from 20–54 years for nonsmokers [average 39.5±11.5 (SD) years] and 23–61 for smokers [average 39.5±11.7 (SD) years]. The results showed a significant increase in elasticity modulus with age. An increase in elasticity modulus indicates a decrease in cell deformability. There was no significant difference in the rate of increase with age in smokers as compared to non-smokers. Further studies are warranted to determine the exact membrane properties responsible for decrease in deformability during the aging process.

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Ward, K.A., Baker, C., Roebuck, L. et al. Red blood cell deformability: Effect of age and smoking. AGE 14, 73–77 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02434093

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02434093

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