Erythrocyte viscoelastic recovery after liver transplantation in a cirrhotic patient affected by spur cell anaemia

Maria Laura Leo, Flavio Di Giacinto, Matteo Nardini, Alberto Mazzini, C. Rossi, Enrica Porceddu, Massimiliano Papi, Antonio Grieco, Marco De Spirito, Gabriele Ciasca*

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review

2 Citazioni (Scopus)


In physiological conditions, red blood cells (RBCs) are capable of dramatic deformations when passing through the microvasculature. This extreme deformability is closely related to the RBC biconcave shape, to the fluidic nature of the haemoglobin and the cell membrane structure, primarily consisting of a phospholipid bilayer with an underlying two-dimensional spectrin network. In many pathological and inflammatory conditions, the shape and the extreme deformability of erythrocytes appear to be significantly altered. These findings have stimulated intense research towards the search and validation of novel erythrocyte-based mechanical biomarkers, useful for disease diagnosis and therapy monitoring. In this study, we investigated with Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) the mechanical properties of erythrocytes obtained from a 68 years old cirrhotic man diagnosed with spur cell anaemia and cold agglutinated disease, before and after liver transplantation. Mechanical changes are compared with ultrastructural alterations as studied by scanning electron microscopy and discussed according to confocal fluorescence microscopy results, showing possible alterations induced by the cirrhotic environment at the level of the RBCs cytoskeletal organisation and lipidic composition. Taken together, the results here presented show that liver transplantation not only contributes to restoring the proper RBC morphology, but it also induces recovery of the physiological viscous behaviour of cells, further stressing the relevance of viscous and dissipative forces in determining the RBC biomechanical response.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)287-296
Numero di pagine10
RivistaJournal of Microscopy
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2020


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Cullen and Frey plot
  • Laurdan
  • biomechanics
  • cirrhosis
  • confocal microscopy
  • liver transplantation
  • red blood cells


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