Scanning Microscopy


Recently, red blood cells have been investigated mainly for alterations in ion transporting capacity, membrane bound enzymes or modifications in the structure of its individual constituents in clinical and experimental urolithiasis. However, the implication of such modifications on the physical state or morphology of cells has not been investigated. Scanning electron microscopic studies performed in vitamin B6 deficient and/or galactose fed rat (established hyperoxaluric models) erythrocytes, showed the presence of large number of stomatocytes, spherocytes and other variously deformed cells as compared to discocytic cells seen in normal control group. These changes in shape were in concurrence with red cell osmotic fragility, which decreased both in vitamin B6 deficient and vitamin B6 deficient + galactose fed group (19% and 33% hemolysis at 4 g/l NaCl, respectively) while it increased in galactose control group (73% hemolysis at 4 g/l NaCl) as compared to normal control group (55 % hemolysis at 4 g/l NaCl). These morphological and physical state alterations could be correlated with red blood cells' membrane cholesterol and phospholipid sub-class distribution. These findings suggest that some structural membrane changes occur due to vitamin B6 deficiency and/or galactose feeding, which may be responsible for the altered membrane functions known to be associated with pathogenesis of urolithiasis.

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