A survey of the published electrophoretic mobilities of certain mammalian red cells reveals that the isoelectric points accorded to these cells are the result of equilibria incidental to red cell destruction. The electrophoretic mobilities of normal washed sheep and human cells have now been studied in 0.85 per cent NaCl solutions from about pH 3.6 to 7.4. All measurements were made within 2 minutes of the preparation of the suspension of red cells. In no case was reversal of sign of charge observed under these conditions. Reversal of sign of charge occurred only after sufficient time had elapsed to permit sufficient adsorption of the products of red cell destruction. There is little change in mobility as the pH of the medium is decreased. Reversal of sign of charge does occur in the presence of normal and immune (anti-sheep) rabbit sera. The isoelectric point determined under these conditions does not appear to be connected specifically with the immune body but is perhaps associated with phenomena incidental to red cell destruction and the presence of serum. The characteristic lowering of mobility by amboceptor occurs, however, from pH 4.0 to pH 7.4. The curves of mobility plotted against pH for normal and for immune sera support the viewpoint that the identity of the isoelectric points for normal and sensitized sheep cells is not primarily concerned with the immune reaction. It is most unlikely that an "albumin" or a "globulin" surface covers red cells with a complete protein film. Although serum protein reacts with red cells in acid solutions, this is not demonstrable for gelatin. The lowering of mobility usually ascribed to anti-sheep rabbit serum may also occur, but to a lesser degree, in normal rabbit serum. This diminution of mobility is not, in the first place, associated with sensitization to hemolysis induced by complement. This supports the view that only a very small part of the red cell surface need be changed in order to obtain complete hemolysis in the presence of complement.

This content is only available as a PDF.