Stability of spiculated red blood cells induced by intercalation of amphiphiles in cell membrane

  • A. IgličEmail author
  • V. Kralj-Iglič
  • H. Hägerstrand
Cellular Engineering


The stability of speculated red blood cells, induced by intercalation of amphiphilic molecules into the cell membrane, is studied. It is assumed that the stable red blood cell shape corresponds to the minimum of its membrane elastic energy, which consists of the local and non-local bilayer bending energies and of the skeleton shear elastic energy. The cell volume and the membrane area are kept constant. It is calculated that the number of spicules of the stable echinocytic shape is larger when the amphiphile concentration is higher, which is in agreement with experimental observations. Also, it is established that, in explaining the stability of the echinocytic shape of the red blood cell, it is necessary to include the membrane skeleton shear elasticity.


Red blood cell Cell shape stability Echinocyte Membrane skeleton Membrane elastic energy 


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© IFMBE 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Applied PhysicsFaculty of Electrical EngineeringLjubljanaSlovenia
  2. 2.Institute of Biophysics, Medical FacultyUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  3. 3.Department of BiologyÅbo Akademi UniversityÅbo/TurkuFinland

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