Author(s): Thomas SL, Bouyer G, Cueff A, Ege S, Glogowska E,
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Abstract During the past three decades, electrophysiological studies revealed that human red blood cell membrane is endowed with a large variety of ion channels. The physiological role of these channels, if any, remains unclear; they do not participate in red cell homeostasis which is rather based on the almost total absence of cationic permeability and minute anionic conductance. They seem to be inactive in the "resting cell." However, when activated experimentally, ion channels can lead to a very high single cell conductance and potentially induce disorders, with the major risks of fast dehydration and dissipation of gradients. Could there be physiological conditions under which the red cell needs to activate these high conductances, or are ion channels relics of a function lost in anucleated cells? It has been demonstrated that they play a key role in diseases such as sickle cell anemia or malaria. This short overview of ion channels identified to-date in the human red cell membrane is an attempt to propose a dynamic role for these channels in circulating cells in health and disease. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Blood Cells Mol Dis
and referenced in Biology and Medicine