Effect of lanthanum on red blood cell deformability

Tamas Alexy, Norbert Nemeth, Rosalinda B. Wenby, Rupert M. Bauersachs, Oguz K. Baskurt, Herbert J. Meiselman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Prior reports describing the effects of lanthanum (La3+) on red blood cells (RBC) have focused on the effects of this lanthanide on cell fusion or on membrane characteristics (e.g., ion movement across membrane, membrane protein aggregation); the present study explores its rheological and biophysical effects. Normal human RBC were exposed to La3+ levels up to 200 μM then tested for: (1) cellular deformability using a laser-based ektacytometer and an optical-based rheoscope; (2) membrane viscoelastic behavior via micropipettes; (3) surface charge via micro electrophoresis. La 3+ concentrations of 12.5 to 200 μM caused dose-dependent decreases of deformability that were greatest at low stresses: these rheological changes were completely reversible upon removing La3+ from the media either by washing with La3+-free buffer or by suspending La 3+-exposed cells in La3+-free media (i.e., viscous dextran solution). Both membrane shear elastic modulus and membrane surface viscosity were increased by 25-30% at 100 or 200 μM. As expected, La3+ decreased RBC electrophoretic mobility (EPM), with EPM inversely but not linearly associated with deformability; changes of EPM were also completely reversible. These results thus indicate novel aspects of RBC cellular and membrane rheological behavior yet raise questions regarding specific mechanisms responsible for La3+-induced alterations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-373
Number of pages13
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 2007


  • Deformability
  • Electrophoresis
  • Lanthanum
  • Membrane
  • Red blood cell

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