Pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP), an allosteric effector for the oxygenation of haemoglobin, was incorporated readily into erythrocytes and disappeared from them by simple passive diffusion. The disappearance of PLP from the cells was accelerated by the generation of 2,3-DPG in a medium of inosine, pyruvate and phosphate. The oxygen dissociation curve measured at an extracellular pH of 7.4 demonstrated that PLP incorporated into the cells also lowered the oxygen affinity and that PLP functionally compensated for a metabolically reduced 2,3-DPG. However, the dependency of the oxygen affinity on the intracellular PLP concentration showed a different pattern from the observed for 2,3-DPG. On the other hand, the lowering of intracellular pH by organic phosphates accumulated in the cells was much larger with PLP than with 2,3-DPG. The peculiar relationship between the oxygen affinity of erythrocytes and the intracellular PLP concentration is discussed in detail. The present study may offer a new prospect for the preservation of blood with a normal function.