A new technique to determine the rate of water passage through the membrane of the human erythrocyte under an osmotic gradient has been developed. It utilizes a rapid mixing apparatus of the Hartridge-Roughton type which permits measurements at short intervals after the reaction has begun. This is coupled with a light-scattering device of new design which permits the determination of very small changes in volume of the cells without disturbing them. With this technique it was possible to measure the change in volume of freshly drawn human erythrocytes after about 50, 100, 155, and 215 msec. of exposure to anisotonic media. The experimental curves were compared with theoretical curves derived from accepted equations for the process and a permeability coefficient of 0.23 ± 0.03 (cm.4/osm., sec.) was obtained.

This content is only available as a PDF.