Hemolysis of human red blood cells by freezing and thawing in solutions containing polyvinylpyrrolidone: relationship with postthypertonic hemolysis and solute movements

Woolgar, A.E.

Cryobiology 11(1): 52-59


ISSN/ISBN: 0011-2240
PMID: 4455462
DOI: 10.1016/0011-2240(74)90038-8
Accession: 043244045

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An investigation was made into the effects of the presence of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) on changes in human red blood cells suspended in hypertonic solutions, on posthypertonic hemolysis, and on freezing at temperatures down to −12 °C. Pvp is very effective at reducing hemolysis when the red blood cells are frozen at temperatures down to −12 °C. However, the membranes of the cells recovered on thawing have become very permeable to sodium and potassium ions and there is a much increased hemolysis if the cells are resuspended in an isotonic solution of sodium chloride. The presence of Pvp does not affect the dehydration of the cells or the development of a change in membrane permeability when the cells are shrunken in hypertonic solutions at 0 °C. Neither does its presence in the hypertonic solution reduce the extent of posthypertonic hemolysis at 4 °C (as measured by the hemolysis on resuspension in an isotonic solution of sodium chloride), but it is more effective than sucrose at reducing hemolysis when present in the resuspension solution. It is concluded that the Pvp is able to prevent swelling and hemolysis of cells which are very permeable to cations by opposing the colloid osmotic pressure due to the hemoglobin. However, this does not explain how Pvp is able to protect cells against freezing damage at high cooling rates, and a mechanism by which it might do this is discussed.