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Indian Journal of Pharmacology 1993; 25: 173 LETTER TO THE EDITOR

ERYTHROCYTE MEMBRANE STABILIZATION BY INDOMETHACIN
(Accepted for publication: April 06, 1993)
The erythrocyte osmotic fragility tests has been used
as a measure of red cell tensile strength and is
related to cellular deformability which is a significant
aspect of red cell function.’ Indomethacin, a non-
steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, was found to in-
duce slight membrane changes in erythrocytes.²
We studied the effect of indomethacin on erythrocyte
osmotic fragility to ascertain its membrane stabilizing
effect.
Young albino rats (Charles foster) weighing 200-
2509 were maintained on commercial rat diet (Lip-
ton Co., India) and water, They were divided into
two groups. Animals in group I served as control
and group II were administered indomethacin 0.4166
mg/kg, p.o., bd x 5 days. After 5 days of drug treat-
ment blood was collected in heparin (10 IU/ml) from
the caudal vein. The osmotic fragility determinations
were done by the method of Dacie and Lewis.³ The
NaCl concentration of 50% hemolysis was taken
as a measure of mean erythrocyte fragility (MEF).
In control rats, the osmotic fragility (O.F.) profile is
almost a sigmoidal curve whereas in indomethacin
treated animals the O.F. profile is shifted to the left
which is due to decreased osmotic fragility showing
membrane stabilization (Figure 1). The MEF is sig-
nificantly (P < 0.01) decreased in indomethacin
treated rats. The MEF of control and indomethacin
treated rats are 0.740 ± 0.008 and 0.711 ± 0.002%
sodium chloride respectively.
lndomethacin is one of the most potent inhibitors
of the prostaglandin forming cyclooxygenase which
reduces the production and tissue concentration of
prostaglandin4 Prostaglandin Et (PGEl) was found
to act on erythrocytes in such a way that it causes
membrane phospholipids disruption5 It has earlier
been reported that ingestion of indomethacin in-
duces slight membrane changes in erythrocytes.²
Since erythrocytes are free from intracellular
Figure 1. Osmotic fragility profile of erythrocytes. Each point is
the mean of at least four experiments.
100 -
80 -
‘;i
& 60-
.u,
E
e
40 -
o Control
z
I
I
A lndomethacin treated
01
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1
Sodium chloride (%)
membranes and organelles, any effect of a drug on
the osmotic hemolysis can be interpreted as an
effect on the cell membrane. The stabilizing effect
of indomethacin on erythrocyte membrane may be
due to the less production of PGEl which has been
shown to cause phospholipids disruption, an impor-
tant component of red cell membranes and as-
sociated structural changes in the red cell membrane
after indomethacin treatment.
IMTIAZ AHMAD* AND MOHAMMAD SUHAI L
Department of Biochemistry,
University of Allahabad,
Allahabad - 211 002, U.P.
* Present Address: Institute of Social Health Welfare Rural
Development and Educational Society, ISWRDES (India),
80-A, Rasoolpur, Syedwara,
Allahabad - 211 003, U.P.
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