Red blood cell lactate transport in sickle disease and sickle cell trait

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


NLM Title Abbreviation

J Appl Physiol

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md.: 1985)

PubMed ID


DOI of Published Version


Start Page


End Page



This study determined and compared rates and mechanisms of lactate transport in red blood cells (RBCs) of persons with 1) sickle cell disease (HbSS), 2) sickle cell trait (HbAS), and 3) a control group (HbAA). Blood samples were drawn from 30 African-American volunteers (10 HbSS, 10 HbAS, 10 HbAA). Lactate influx into RBCs was measured by using [14C]lactate at six (2, 5, 10, 15, 25, and 40 mM) unlabeled lactate concentrations. The monocarboxylate transporter pathway was blocked by p-chloromercuriphenylsulfonic acid to determine its percent contribution to total lactate influx. Generally, total lactate influx into RBCs from the HbSS group was significantly greater than influx into RBCs from HbAS or HbAA, with no difference between HbAS and HbAA. Faster influx into HbSS RBCs was attributed to increased monocarboxylate transporter activity [increased apparent Vmax (V'max)]. V'max (4.7 +/- 0.6 micromol x ml(-1) x min(-1)) for HbSS RBCs was significantly greater than V'max of HbAS RBCs (2.9 +/- 1.5 micromol x ml(-1) x min(-1)) and HbAA RBCs (2.0 +/- 0.5 micromol x ml(-1) x min(-1)). Km (42.8 +/- 8 mM) for HbSS RBCs was significantly greater than Km (27 +/- 12 mM) for HbAA RBCs. We suspect that elevated erythropoietin levels in response to chronic anemia and/or pharmacological treatment (erythropoietin injections, hydroxyurea ingestion) is the underlying mechanism for increased lactate transport capacity in HbSS RBCs.


Adult, Anemia, Sickle Cell/blood, Biological Transport, Active, Erythrocytes/metabolism, Female, Humans, Lactic Acid/metabolism, Male, Sickle Cell Trait/blood

Published Article/Book Citation

Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md.: 1985), 99:3 (2005) pp.822-827. DOI:10.1152/japplphysiol.00235.2005.

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