Flow Characteristics of Human Erythrocytes through Polycarbonate Sieves

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Science  18 Aug 1967:
Vol. 157, Issue 3790, pp. 825-827
DOI: 10.1126/science.157.3790.825


We used polycarbonate sieves with uniform cylindrical pores (2.4 to 6.8 microns in diameter) to filter suspensions of human erythrocytes (mean major diameter is 7.2 microns) in Eagle-albumin solution. With 6.8-micron sieves the pressure-flow curves are convexed to the pressure-axis at low pressures and become linear with high pressures. With 4.5-micron sieves, however, the pressure-flow relationship is linear throughout the range of study. In both types of sieves, flow rate is reduced progressively with increasing concentration of red blood cells (RBC) over a range of 0.5 to 95 percent. The resistance to flow of RBC suspensions is higher in 4.5-micron than in 6.8-micron pores. With filter pore diameters of 3.0 microns or more, the RBC concentration in the filtrate was 100 percent of that in the solution being filtered, but only 70 percent with 2.4-micron pores. The observed critical pore diameter for 100 percent cell transmission agrees with theoretical calculation based on the assumption that the RBC membrane is deformable but nonextensible. The importance of cell deformation in the passage of RBC's through small pores is shown by the inability of RBC hardened in acetaldehyde to pass pores with 6.8-micron diameter.