The effects of five UICC asbestos samples, titanium dioxide, and quartz on the bovine red cell membrane have been studied in erythrocyte ghosts by the spin labelling technique. Analysis of the electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectra of two sulphydryl reactive spin labels and one fatty acid spin label in red cell ghosts showed modifications in membrane protein after asbestos treatment but no alterations in membrane lipids. In experiments with quartz no membrane changes were noted but titanium dioxide altered the proteins bound with the protein reactive spin label used in the present study. The possible mechanism for these effects is discussed.
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