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Adenosine Triphosphate and Maintenance of Shape of the Human Red Cells


ALTHOUGH the mechanism with which red blood cells maintain their biconcave shape has been studied by a number of investigators, it has not yet been clarified. Some twenty years ago Furchgott and Ponder1 proposed the existence of an antisphering factor in the blood plasma, but later Ponder2 himself cast doubt on this. More recently, Prankerd3 suggested that the red cell envelope might possess certain contractile properties dependent upon a continuous regeneration of adenosine triphosphate, according to the evidence that incorporation of phosphorus-32 is low in the esters of the stroma obtained from those species with spheroidal red cells or from patients with hereditary spherocytosis. However, no detailed experiment on the shape of the cells has been reported by Prankerd or by others.

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