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The Journal of General Physiology
The Rockefeller University Press
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1. A method is described for measuring the accumulation of K at 37°C. by washed human red cells in glucose-containing systems in which the pH is kept constant, the K content of the cells being compared with that of the cells of systems which contain no added glucose but which are otherwise treated similarly. 2. In systems containing added glucose, the accumulation of K begins shortly after the cells have been warmed to 37°C., proceeds to a maximum which is reached after about 10 hours, and then falls exponentially. The maximum rate of accumulation is found during the first 3 hours. In systems which contain no added glucose, the K content of the cells appears to decrease exponentially with time for about 18 to 24 hours; thereafter the K content of the cells may decrease rapidly and the systems may show considerable hemolysis. Sometimes a small accumulation effect is observed during the first 2 to 3 hours; this may be the result of the washed cells not having been completely freed of glucose. 3. The accumulation process proceeds at its maximum rate at pH 7.4 to 7.6, which is also the pH at which the K loss from the red cells is at a minimum in systems containing no added glucose. 4. When red cells are stored at 4°C. for increasing lengths of time, the storage is accompanied by increasing K loss and the maximum rate of accumulation observed when the cells are warmed to 37°C. at first becomes greater. If the storage at 4°C. is continued for more than 3 to 4 days, the rate of the accumulation which occurs at 37°C decreases again, the accumulation mechanism showing progressive deterioration with time even at low temperatures. This deterioration has a counterpart in the progressive deterioration (deduced from the analysis of the curves relating K content and time) of the accumulation mechanism with time at 37°C. 5. The accumulation of K occurs at a maximum rate when the concentration of glucose in the system is between 50 and 200 mg./100 ml. Its temperature coefficient over the range 27–37°C. is 2.4. In the presence of glucose and at pH 7.6, accumulation of K takes place from isotonic mixtures of KCl and LiCl or of KCl and CsCl only a little less actively than from mixtures of KCl and NaCl; i.e., the accumulation of K under optimum conditions seems to be an active process which is at least partly independent of the excretion of Na.

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