Some Effects of Vasoactive Hormones on the Mammalian Red Blood Cell

  • J. E. Allen
  • H. Rasmussen
Part of the Alza Conference Series book series (AEMB, volume 195B)


Krogh first observed the marked deformation which red cells undergo in their passage through the capillaries (Krogh, 1922). This deformation is imposed upon red cells since non-distensible capillaries have diameters ranging from 3–12 microns whereas that of the red cell averages 8 microns. In order to traverse the smaller capillaries the red cell is deformed into a sausage shape with a cylindrical diameter approximating that of the capillary, but with a length well in excess of its original diameter. This remarkable change in shape occurs without any significant change in surface area (LaCelle, 1970). Red cell membranes are resistant to stretch but quite readily change shape in response to a deforming pressure (Rand and Burton, 1964a, 1964b). In addition to the shape change which takes place in the capillaries, the red cells normally undergo a change in shape in the small arterioles. This deformation occurs in response to the pattern of forces exerted by laminar flow in the arteriolar circulation (Goldsmith, 1970).


Erythrocyte Deformability Calcium Pool Percent Hemolysis Short Period Oscillation Vasoactive Hormone 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. E. Allen
    • 1
  • H. Rasmussen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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