In sickle cell disease, in the homozygous state, the increased heterogeneity of erythrocytes results mainly from membrane defects secondary to Hb S polymerization and the increased survival of F cells. The density distribution curve, using phthalate esters or the red blood cell indices measured with the H*3 system, are useful methods for the hematological follow-up of patients under specific therapies. The methods evaluating the red blood cell cation contents and the abnormal membrane potassium transport pathways are also described, in order to evaluate agents which can restore normal hemoglobin concentration and water content in dehydrated sickle cells.
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