Real time study of shape and thermal fluctuations in the echinocyte transformation of human erythrocytes using Defocusing Microscopy

Sebastian Etcheverry, Maria Jose Gallardo, P. Solano, Oscar Mesquita, Mario Suwalsky and C. Saavedra


We present a real-time method to measure the amplitude of thermal fluctuations in biolog- ical membranes by means of a new treatment of the Defocusing Microscopy optical technique. This approach was also applied to study the deformation of human erythrocytes to its echinocyte structure. This was carried out by making three-dimensional shape reconstructions of the cell and measuring the thermal fluctuations of its membrane, as the cell is exposed to the anti-inflammatory drug naproxen and as it recovers its original shape, when it is subsequently cleansed of the drug. The results showed biomechanical changes in the membrane even at low naproxen concentration (0.2mM). Also, we found that when the cell recovered its original shape, the membrane prop- erties were different compared to the non-drugged initial erythrocyte, indicating that the drug administration-recovery process is not completely reversible.


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