A method is described by means of which the fragmentation and haemolysis resulting from heat can be studied quantitatively, and by means of which certain situations as regards the rigidity and the extent of haemoglobinization of the ghost can be distinguished from each other.
Fragmentation and haemolysis increase with time so as to become virtually complete after 15 min. heating at any temperature. The fragmentation and haemolysis at the end of 15 min. is linear with the temperature, and so can be expressed in terms of four constants, two referring to the former process and two to the latter.
Heating of human red cells under different conditions may give rise to ghosts with different properties as regards rigidity and degree of haemoglobinization. Conditions which render the cells spherical prevent its fragmentation, and plasma contains substances (albumins) which inhibit both fragmentation and haemolysis by heat. Similar conclusions can be reached by examining the heat fragmentation and haemolysis of the red cells of mammals other than man.