The mechanism of erythrocyte sedimentation. Part 2: The global collapse of settling erythrocyte network

Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2010 Jan 1;75(1):224-9. doi: 10.1016/j.colsurfb.2009.08.037. Epub 2009 Aug 31.


Results reported in the companion paper showed that erythrocytes in quiescent blood are combined into a network followed by the formation of plasma channels within it. This study is focused on structural changes in the settling dispersed phase subsequent to the channeling and the effect of the structural organization on the sedimentation rate. It is suggested that the initial, slow stage of erythrocyte sedimentation is mainly controlled by the gravitational compactness of the collapsed network. The lifetime of RBC network and hence the duration of the slow regime of erythrocyte sedimentation decrease with an increase in the intercellular pair potential and with a decrease in Hct. The gravitational compactness of the collapsed network causes its rupture into individual fragments. The catastrophic collapse of the network transforms erythrocyte sedimentation from slow to fast regime. The size of RBC network fragment is insignificantly affected by Hct and is mainly determined by the intensity of intercellular attractive interactions. When cells were suspended in the weak aggregating medium, the Stokes radius of fragments does not differ measurably from that of individual RBCs. The proposed mechanism provides a reasonable explanation of the effects of RBC aggregation, Hct and the initial height of the blood column on the delayed erythrocyte sedimentation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Sedimentation
  • Cell Membrane Permeability / drug effects
  • Dextrans / pharmacology
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Erythrocytes / cytology*
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects
  • Hematocrit
  • Humans
  • Suspensions
  • Time Factors


  • Dextrans
  • Suspensions