Haemolysis

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Haemolysis (or hemolysis) is the rupturing of red blood cells (erythrocytes). Rupturing of the cell membrane causes the release of intracellular proteins including haemoglobin. It can be caused in the body due to a number of stresses, such as: Infection, exhaustion, poor diet etc.. [1]

Osmotic haemolysis is caused by an excess amount of water moving into the cell by osmosis. This can be induced by placing red blood cells in a hypotonic soloution (<0.9%, NaCl[2]), it causes water to move down its osmotic gradient into the cell. Placing red blood cells into a hypertonic soloution (>0.9%, NaCl) causes water to leave the cell leading to cells losing their biconcave shape in a process called crenation[3]. Osmotic fragility to haemolysis can vary depending on the integrity of the cell membrane and surface area-to-volume ratio[4]

Refrences:

  1. Pnhsaa.org.au, (2014). Haemolysis » pnhsaa. [online] Available at: http://www.pnhsaa.org.au/haemolysis/ [Accessed 26 Nov. 2014].
  2. Medicine.mcgill.ca, (2014). Red cell fragility - Osmotic hemolysis. [online] Available at: http://www.medicine.mcgill.ca/physio/vlab/bloodlab/eryfrag1_n.htm [Accessed 26 Nov. 2014].
  3. Medicine.mcgill.ca, (2014). Red cell fragility - Osmotic hemolysis. [online] Available at: http://www.medicine.mcgill.ca/physio/vlab/bloodlab/eryfrag1_n.htm [Accessed 26 Nov. 2014].
  4. P291fckLRPnhsaa.org.au, (2014). Haemolysis » pnhsaa. [online] Available at: http://www.pnhsaa.org.au/haemolysis/ [Accessed 26 Nov. 2014].

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