Background and aims. Appliance of electric pulses induces red blood cells (RBCs) membrane poration, membrane aminophospholipid perturbation and alteration of the normal flip-flop process, resulting in various shape changes of the
RBCs. We studied morphological and water permeability changes of RBCs bombarded with electrons in an alternating current circuit.
Methods. We used three venous blood samples of 100 mL and an alternating current device. The harvested blood was divided into four experimental sets to be used for various exposure times: 0 hours (control RBCs), 0.5h, 3h and 6h (electricstimulated RBCs).
Following the electric current each of the four sets were further divided into three samples: one for the assessment of the echinocytes/RBCs ratio, another for the electron microscopy study of ultrastructural changes induced by the alternating electrical current and a larger third one for determining water permeability of RCBs by 1H-NMR spectroscopy and morphological measurements.
Results. There is a small but statistically significant effect of the RBC exposure to alternating electric current on cell diameters. Exposure to electric current is positively and strongly correlated with the percentage of echinocytes in a duration-dependent
manner. There is a strong and statistically significant correlation between electric current exposure and permeability to water as measured by 1H-NMR spectroscopy.
Conclusion. Following interactions between electric current and RBC
membrane, certain modifications were observed in the erythrocyte structure. We attribute the increased cell size to a higher permeability to water and a decreased tonicity. This leads to the transformation of the RBCs into echinocytes.


erythrocytes, alternating current, echinocyte, water permeability