Comparative Sensitivity of Human and Bovine Erythrocytes to Sonolysis by 1-MHz Ultrasound

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2000 Oct;26(8):1317-26. doi: 10.1016/s0301-5629(00)00254-4.


This project tested the hypothesis that human erythrocytes, being larger than bovine erythrocytes, would be the more sensitive to sonolysis induced by inertial cavitation. The rationale behind this hypothesis was an earlier demonstration that, among sized populations of erythrocytes, an inverse relation existed between erythrocyte volume and mechanically-induced shear forces in the surrounding medium; viz, the larger the cell, the less shear force required to rupture the cell's membrane. At low erythrocyte densities (i.e., approximately 5% hematocrit) the hypothesis was supported; at high cell densities (i.e., approximately 35% hematocrit) it was not supported. The data are consistent with an ultrasound (US)-induced symmetric implosion of affected gas nuclei as causing the effect at low cell densities; under such conditions there is ample spacing among cells for US-induced symmetric growth and collapse of gas nuclei and the concomitant production of radially-expanding shock waves (which lyse the cells); at high cell densities there is not sufficient spacing among cells for US-induced symmetric growth and collapse of bubbles and an alternative mechanism, possibly asymmetric bubble collapse, becomes operational.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Albumins
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Contrast Media
  • Erythrocyte Volume
  • Erythrocytes* / cytology
  • Hematocrit
  • Hemolysis*
  • Humans
  • Ultrasonics*


  • Albumins
  • Albunex
  • Contrast Media