A perfluorochemical blood substitute emulsified with Pluronic F-68 has been shown to improve the filterability of deoxygenated sickle red cells. We questioned whether some of the effect was independent of oxygen loading and studied the influence of Fluosol DA (Green Cross, Osaka, Japan) and Pluronic on the rheology and adhesion of sickle red cells saturated with oxygen and carbon monoxide. A 5-vol/vol% concentration of Fluosol or equivalent concentration of Pluronic was equally effective at improving the filtration of washed sickle cells through 5-micron-diameter pores at wall shear stresses approximating 1,000 dyne/cm2. The same concentration of Pluronic reduced the extensional static rigidity of irreversibly sickled cells (ISC) by 25% and also abolished the adherence of gravity-sedimented sickle cells to endothelial monolayers in the presence of saline or plasma. The inhibition of adherence was not reversible by washing and was accomplished with equal ease by isolated treatment of sickle cells or endothelium. Pluronic had no effect on the rheology or adhesion of normal adult red cells. Neither Fluosol nor Pluronic changed sickle or normal cell shape, mean cell volume, mean cell density, or cell density distribution. A lubricating effect of Pluronic on cell surfaces could explain all of the rheological observations and offers another direction of inquiry in the search for therapy for sickle cell disease.

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