Red blood cells (RBCs) are highly deformable and possess a robust membrane that can withstand shear force.
Previous research showed that in diabetic patients, there is a changed RBC ultrastructure, where these cells are
elongated and twist around spontaneously formed fibrin fibers. These changes may impact erythrocyte function.
Ultrastructural analysis of RBCs in inflammatory and degenerative diseases can no longer be ignored and should
form a fundamental research tool in clinical studies. Consequently, we investigated the membrane roughness and
ultrastructural changes in type 2 diabetes. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to study membrane roughness
and we correlate this with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to compare results of both the techniques with the
RBCs of healthy individuals. We show that the combined AFM and SEM analyses of RBCs give valuable information
about the disease status of patients with diabetes. Effectiveness of treatment regimes on the integrity, cell shape
and roughness of RBCs may be tracked, as this cell’s health status is crucial to the overall wellness of the diabetic