Comparative sensitivity of human fetal and adult erythrocytes to hemolysis by pulsed 1 mhz ultrasound

Morton W. Miller, Andrew A. Brayman, Teresa A. Sherman, Jacques S. Abramowicz, Christopher Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human fetal and adult erythrocytes differ significantly in mean corpuscular volume (MCV), the fetal cells being larger than adult cells and diminishing in MCV as gestational age (GA) increases. Previous studies have shown that the sensitivity of erythrocytes from different species to lysis by mechanically applied shear stress increases as MCV increases. The tested hypotheses in the present project were: 1. fetal erythrocytes would be more sensitive to sonolysis than adult erythrocytes because of the former's larger size, and 2. erythrocyte sonolytic sensitivity would scale with MCV. Fetal and adult erythrocytes were resuspended to 40% hematocrit in oxygenated isotonic saline solution and 500 μL aliquots were exposed for 60 s to 200 μs bursts of 1-MHz ultrasound (US) (peak pressures: ∼4.8 MPa positive, ∼2.7 MPa negative; duty factor = 0.01), either with or without 3.6 volume % Albunex® (ALX) present. Background-corrected hemolysis was indistinguishable from zero in sham-exposed fetal or adult erythrocyte suspensions. Without ALX, mean background-corrected US-induced hemolysis was significantly greater than zero for fetal and adult cells (0.42 ± 0.15% vs. 0.62 ± 0.15), but fetal cell lysis was not significantly greater than adult cell lysis. With ALX, US-induced hemolytic yields increased ∼80-fold (fetal: 50.53 ± 2.14; adult: 46.40 ± 1.85%), and were significantly higher for fetal than for adult cells. There was also a statistically significant correlation between MCV and US-induced background-corrected hemolysis. Thus, the two hypotheses were supported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-425
Number of pages7
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult blood
  • Fetal blood
  • Human
  • Sonolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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