Biophysical journal

Microviscosity of human erythrocytes studied using hypophosphite two-spin order relaxation.

PMID 1504239


A new 31P NMR method is used to probe the cytoplasmic viscosity of human erythrocytes. The method is based on observing two-spin order relaxation of the 31P atom of the hypophosphite ion. This method is superior to our previous method, using the longitudinal relaxation time of the ion, because random field effects such as intermolecular dipole-dipole relaxation can be separated from intramolecular relaxation. This allows a more accurate determination of the effective reorientational correlation time from the measured intramolecular relaxation because it is now unaffected by random field effects. The new method also provides a means by which to estimate the random field effects. Both two-spin order and proton-decoupled T1 measurements were conducted on hypophosphite in water solutions at various temperatures, glycerol solutions of various viscosities, and in erythrocyte samples of various cell volumes. The results show that the effective reorientational correlation time of the hypophosphite ion varies from 7.2 to 15.2 ps in the cytoplasm of cells ranging in volume from 102 to 56 fl cells.