The uptake of glutaraldehyde by human red blood cells has been measured as a function of time by a freezing point osmometer. The rate of attachment of glutaraldehyde to the cell proteins is high over the first hour, declining to zero over a period of a few days. The number of glutaraldehyde molecules cross-linking with each hemoglobin molecule is of the order of 200, in reasonable agreement with the calculated number of attachment sites. The cell membrane is immediately highly permeable to glutaraldehyde. Selective permeability to ions is lost during fixation. Ionic equilibrium is obtained only after a few hours. An optimum fixation technique for shape preservation is suggested.
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