Rabbit erythrocytes have been haemolysed by treatment with vitamin A alcohol and the sequence of changes in the fine structure of the cells during lysis has been investigated by phase contrast microscopy of intact cells and electron microscopy of thin sections. The initial effect of the vitamin, which occurs within 1 minute, is the production of cells of bizarre appearance which have a greatly increased surface area relative to untreated cells. Large indentations appear in the surfaces of the cells, and vacuoles are formed from the indentations by a process that resembles micropinocytosis. The cells then become spherical and loss of haemoglobin begins as breaks appear in the membranes of some cells; finally, ghosts are produced that are no longer spherical but still contain numerous vacuoles. These observations support the thesis that one site of action of vitamin A is at lipoprotein membranes.

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