The addition of malonyldialdehyde (5–20 micro M) to human erythrocytes results in a marked decrease in cellular deformability as measured with a counter-rotating, cone plate Rheoscope when low shear forces (2.5–25 dynes/sq cm) are applied. At high shear forces (125–500 dynes/sq cm), malonyldialdehyde at 5 micro M had no effect on deformability, although at concentrations of 10 and 20 micro M a small but statistically significant decrease was evident. These effects of this crosslinking agent are observed in the absence of alterations in cell volume and intracellular viscosity. The results obtained are in accord with the view that the polymerization of membrane constituents may contribute to the events that lead to the removal from the circulation of either aging cells or cells exposed to peroxidation-initiating agents.

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