The osmotic fragility of the erythrocyte membrane to hypotonic solutions is investigated theoretically. The fragility curves exhibit a strong transmittance rise. This variation is assumed to result from changes in the scattering properties of erythrocytes under dialysis resulting from swelling and hemolysis. The refractive indices of erythrocytes are obtained through the Lorentz–Lorenz relation based on hemoglobin and water contents. The scattering cross sections (needed to calculate the collimated transmittance) and the forward scattered intensity (needed to calculate the incoherent transmittance) are expressed according to the simple algebraic relations of the anomalous diffraction approximation. It is shown that swelling (or shrinking) has no influence on the collimated transmittance. Hemolysis alone causes the abrupt sigmoidal increase of the collimated transmittance with time. The possible transmittance increase (decrease) observed during swelling (shrinking) is due to incoherent transmittance and depends on the detecting solid angle value of the experimental setup.
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Vol. 72 • No. 2