Red Blood Cell Morphology in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Effect of Oxygen Therapy versus Allopurinol

  • Alfredo D. Michán
  • Juan G. Puig
  • Pascual F. Crespo
  • Francisco L. Macías
  • Antonio A. González
  • Julio Ortiz
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 253A)


The cytological study of peripheral blood erythrocytes (RBC) has undergone notable development with the appearance of microscopic methods and techniques. Important descriptive data and a sound cytophysiological assessment of morphostructural features of RBCs have been obtained with these methods. Transmission electron microscopy has provided even more precise information on the internal structure of RBCs (1). Furthermore, the introduction of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) has given new impetus to our knowledge of the tridimensional configuration of RBCs (2). Following description of the different forms of RBCs (3), more recent studies have begun to classify the erythrocyte shapes which characterize some diseases. Morphological indicators have been established for some anemic syndromes (4, 5) as well as other non-hematological pathologies including alcoholism (6) and colorectal cancer (7). It is, however, not known whether morphological alterations of RBCs are also present in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Insufficient oxygen levels may lead to modifications in erythrocyte anaerobic glyco-lisis and increased production of 2, 3-diphosphoglycerate, which in turns limits the affinity of hemoglobin for oxygen. This also implies a drop in adenosintriphosphate (ATP) synthesis, a compound of vital importance not only for satisfying the erythrocyte energy requirements but also in allowing RBCs to maintain their normal morphology (1).


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Patient Oxygen Therapy Corpuscular Hemoglobin Home Oxygen Therapy 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alfredo D. Michán
    • 1
  • Juan G. Puig
    • 1
  • Pascual F. Crespo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Francisco L. Macías
    • 1
    • 2
  • Antonio A. González
    • 1
  • Julio Ortiz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine“La Paz” HospitalMadridSpain
  2. 2.Department of HistologyGranadaSpain

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