Partitioning in charge-sensitive dextran-poly(ethylene glycol) aqueous phase systems reveals that fixation with even small concentrations of glutaraldehyde (e.g., 0.1% w/v) changes the surface properties of cells. While fixation with larger concentrations of glutaraldehyde (i.e., 1.85%) increases erythrocyte partition ratios, the effect of lower glutaraldehyde concentrations on the partition ratios appears to be species-specific. The differential effect of glutaraldehyde on rat reticulocytes and erythrocytes indicates that fixation is also cell-dependent. These data, together with the previous report that glutaraldehyde fixation does not change the characteristic relative partition ratios of rat mature erythrocytes of different cell ages, suggest that the nature and extent of glutaraldehyde alteration of cell surfaces must, in each case, be empirically evaluated.

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