The permeability coefficients of dog red cell membrane to tritiated water and to a series of[14C]amides have been deduced from bulk diffusion measurements through a "tissue" composed of packed red cells. Red cells were packed by centrifugation inside polyethylene tubing. The red cell column was pulsed at one end with radiolabeled solute and diffusion was allowed to proceed for several hours. The distribution of radioactivity along the red cell column was measured by sequential slicing and counting, and the diffusion coefficient was determined by a simple plotting technique, assuming a one-dimensional diffusional model. In order to derive the red cell membrane permeability coefficient from the bulk diffusion coefficient, the red cells were assumed to be packed in a regular manner approximating closely spaced parallelopipeds. The local steady-state diffusional flux was idealized as a one-dimensional intracellular pathway in parallel with a one-dimensional extracellular pathway with solute exchange occurring within the series pathway and between the pathways. The diffusion coefficients in the intracellular and extracellular pathways were estimated from bulk diffusion measurements through concentrated hemoglobin solutions and plasma, respectively; while the volume of the extracellular pathway was determined using radiolabeled sucrose. The membrane permeability coefficients were in satisfactory agreement with the data of Sha'afi, R. I., C. M. Gary-Bobo, and A. K. Solomon (1971. J. Gen. Physiol. 58:238) obtained by a rapid-reaction technique. The method is simple and particularly well suited for rapidly permeating solutes.

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