A small-angle X-ray scattering study of red blood cells in continuous flow


Burchert JP, Graceffa R, Saldanha O, Burghammer M, Köster S


Journal of Synchrotron Radiation


J Synchrotron Radiat. 2023 May 1.


Owing to their large penetration depth and high resolution, X-rays are ideally suited to study structures and structural changes within intact biological cells. For this reason, X-ray-based techniques have been used to investigate adhesive cells on solid supports. However, these techniques cannot easily be transferred to the investigation of suspended cells in flow. Here, an X-ray compatible microfluidic device that serves as a sample delivery system and measurement environment for such studies is presented. As a proof of concept, the microfluidic device is applied to investigate chemically fixed bovine red blood cells by small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). A very good agreement is found between in-flow and static SAXS data. Moreover, the data are fitted with a hard-sphere model and screened Coulomb interactions to obtain the radius of the protein hemoglobin within the cells. Thus, the utility of this device for studying suspended cells with SAXS in continuous flow is demonstrated.


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