Prevention of erythrocyte dehydration is a potential therapeutic strategy for sickle cell disease. Increasing erythrocyte magnesium (Mg) could inhibit sickle cell dehydration by increasing chloride (CI) and water content and by inhibiting potassium chloride (K-CI) cotransport. In transgenic SAD 1 and (control) C57BL/6 normal mice, we investigated the effect of 2 weeks of diet with either low Mg (6 +/- 2 mg/kg body weight/d) or high Mg (1,000 +/- 20 mg/kg body weight/ d), in comparison with a diet of standard Mg (400 +/- 20 mg/ kg body weight/d). The high-Mg diet increased SAD 1 erythrocyte Mg and K contents and reduced K-CI cotransport activity, mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC), cell density, and reticulocyte count. SAD 1 mice treated with low-Mg diet showed a significant reduction in erythrocyte Mg and K contents and increases in K-CI cotransport, MCHC, cell density, and reticulocyte counts. In SAD 1 mice, hematocrit (Hct) and hemoglobin (Hb) decreased significantly with low Mg diet and increased significantly with high-Mg diet. The C57BL/6 controls showed significant changes only in erythrocyte Mg and K content, and K-CI cotransport activities, similar to those observed in SAD 1 mice. Thus, in the SAD 1 mouse, changes in dietary Mg modulate K-CI cotransport, modify erythrocyte dehydration, and ultimately affect Hb levels.

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