Effects of lead chloride on human erythrocyte membranes and on kinetic anion sulphate and glutathione concentrations
© Versita Warsaw and Springer-Verlag Wien 2012
Received: 10 January 2012
Accepted: 15 August 2012
Published: 1 September 2012
Our study concerns the effects of exposure to lead chloride on the morphology, K+ efflux, SO4 − influx and GSH levels of the human erythrocyte. Blood was collected in heparinized tubes and washed three times. The cells were suspended at 3% hematocrit and incubated for 1 h at 25°C in a medium containing increasing concentrations of lead chloride (0, 0.3, 0.5 and 1 μM). After incubation, the suspensions were centrifuged and the erythrocyte pellets were divided into three aliquots for testing. The results show: an increase in the permeability of erythrocytes treated with lead chloride with consequent damage and cellular death, especially in the presence of high concentrations; an increase in potassium ion efflux; alterations in the morphology and membrane structure of the red blood cells; and a decrease in sulphate uptake, due either to the oxidative effect of this compound on the band 3 protein, which loses its biological valence as a carrier of sulphate ions, or to a decrease in the ATP erythrocyte concentration. In conclusion, the exposure of erythrocytes to Pb2+ ions leads to a reduction in the average lifetime of the erythrocytes and the subsequent development of anemia. These data are discussed in terms of the possible effect of lead on the reduction-oxidation systems of the cell. Oxidant agents, such as lead, are known to cross-link integral membrane proteins, leading to K/Cl-cotransport. The increased K+ efflux affects the altered redox state.