Red Blood Cells
The lipid in the mature erythrocyte of mammalian animals is solely contained in the plasma membrane. Lipids account for nearly 50% of the mass of the membrane while proteins are also present in a similar amount. Only very small quantities of sugars in the form of glycoproteins and glycolipids are present although these more hydrophilic moieties may be particularly important in the immunologic specificity of the cells. Since the human red cell has been much more extensively studied than those of other animals, this review will be confined primarily to a consideration of the lipid metabolic pathways of that cell. Moreover, since the disease state termed “hemolytic anemia” represents the premature destruction of the erythrocyte plasma membrane, and since this disease state has frequently prompted biochemical investigations of the lipid metabolism of the affected cells, some of the orientation of this review will be toward hemolytic anemias which are associated with defects in the lipid metabolic pathways of erythrocyte’s plasma membranes.
KeywordsFree Fatty Acid Hemolytic Anemia Human Erythrocyte Phosphatidic Acid Membrane Cholesterol
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