Pathophysiology of Sickling Explained

Hahn and Gillespie were the first to associate the red cell sickling to low oxygen and acidic conditions.  They were able to revert sickled cells back to their normal discoid [...]

Hahn and Gillespie were the first to associate the red cell sickling to low oxygen and acidic conditions.  They were able to revert sickled cells back to their normal discoid shape by simply providing the cells with oxygen. Further experiments showed that, apart from oxygen, increased serum acidity also induced sickling of red blood cells. The increased serum acidity thus the decrease in pH seen in sickled cells can be contributed to several factors.  Reduced water content seen in these cells is a result of the changes in the concentration of potassium chloride (K+ Cl-) and ions such magnesium (Mg+2) as can be used to modulate these effects. The loss of KCl from the cells via several mechanisms is followed by an efflux of water out of the cells, resulting in cell sicking. Several experiments have shown that oral magnesium supplements can be used to reduce dehydration in patients. For more preventative measures refer to living with SCA section.

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