Microcrystals of sodium urate produced direct lysis of erythrocyte membranes, as had been described previously for silica. Calcium pyrophosphate crystals induced modest erythrocyte hemolysis, also, and time-course experiments showed a markedly different reaction curve from those produced by silica and urate. Polyvinylpyridine-N-oxide, a strong hydrogen acceptor, was bound from solution to urate and silica, but not to calcium pyrophosphate crystals; this compound effectively blocked urate and silica, but not calcium pyrophosphate or control hemolysis. Dextran and heparin inhibited urate-but not silica-induced hemolysis.
If erythrocyte and lysosome membranes react similarly to these particles, then the absence of phagosomes in gouty synovial fluid leukocytes, and the presence of these structures in pseudogout, may be explained.