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Blood Cells. Help needed? :S

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Blood Cells. Help needed? :S

Postby boogienorway89 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:21 pm

Hi forum. I am new here, and the only reason I chose to come on here is because of an rather unusual blood cell structure that was present while doing our lab exercises in cellular biology. Not sure if this is relevant, but I am an pharmacy student.

Today we were supposed to inspect our own blood cells, and do two things:
1: Take a microscope slide place a drop of 0.9% NaCl-solution and a drop of blood and place a cover slip on top to examine it.
2: Take a microscope slide, place a drop of blood on it, and smear it out by using a cover slip. Let the smeared blood air-dry for 10-15 seconds, then cover it with methanol and let the alcohol evaporate. Afterwards cover the area with Gimesa-stain and let it dry for a minimum of 15 minutes.


This is what happened after I did the part 1. (Once again, it was a isotonic solution! It worked for everybody else except for me):

(100x lens was used)
http://img684.imageshack.us/g/img0081dm.jpg/

By looking at it, my professor guessed that my blood cell NaCl concentration must be lower than usual, or that the 0.9% saline solution was hypertonic. Either way he still thought it looked rather weird. So he told me to add a drop of water(distilled) to the microscope slide, and make it seep through the cover slip(not sure what this process is called in English).

After doing that, my blood cells became spherical:
(100x lense used)
http://img265.imageshack.us/g/img0088yv.jpg/

So my questions is, why are my cells like that, and is it possible that my blood NaCl concentration is less than 0.9%? Is this something I should worry about?

My overall health is great, to my knowledge. I am slim, regulary work out, eat healthy and have no conditions(that is unless you count bad eye sight as one).

Please help me out on this one guys.

-Boogie-
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Postby canalon » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:49 pm

Before wondering about your health I would wonder if your 0.9% saline was OK. have you tried to use it with someone else's blood or conversely to use someone else's saline?
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Postby boogienorway89 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:05 am

I didn'† try another saline solution, but 3 other people used the same solution and their results were just as they should have been. Based on that I was guessing that I could conclude that the problem didn't lie with the solution.
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Postby canalon » Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:35 am

Ok so you have controls, always a good thing :)

Just to eliminate all the artifacts before getting worried: You also mention your bad eyesight. did it take you a very long time to find the damn cover slip, letting the blood/saline solution evaporate much more than your classmates? :D

But I really have no clue. Or are you one of those people that are always drinking very large amount of water all the time?
If you are really worried about that, go see your doctor, it is always better than relying on random people over the internet.
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Postby biohazard » Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:55 am

Lovely pictures and a very interesting phenomenon. I have never heard that a person's blood could get that far from 0.9% so as to cause something like this.

The phenomenom itself, I believe, is called acanthocytosis or echinocytosis. Those are non-specifically linked to several medical conditions that cause abnormalities to the cellular structure proteins and/or the lipid membrane itself. Most of these conditions are rare and some are very dangerous (like uremia linked to imminent renal failure). However, I must stress that it is much, much more likely that the experimental conditions caused this - especially as the phenomenon was reversible when the tonicity of the solution was adjusted.

Just to make sure what's going on it might be advisable to try to repeat the experiment. If the phenomenon persists, maybe get a blood smear done (as opposed to wet samples you used) in your local medical lab or similar. Some inherited abnormalities in the cell structure components may reveal themselves only in special circumstances (like your experiment in this case), so even the smear might not be conclusive. Thus a good addition might be a complete blood cell count/analysis (a routinely done analysis in any mid to large size medical lab). Anyway, if you are feeling well and your blood cell counts are fine, there's probably little to worry about. After all, at least echinocyes are quite easily produced in vitro even in normal, healthy people (some plasma component or so is believed to cause this, as far as I know).

Let us know if you manage to get some more results regarding this!
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Postby boogienorway89 » Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:53 pm

Thanks for the reply biohazard! I found it quite informative.

I sure will fill you guys in with any news regarding "my condition".

-Boogie-
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