Large numbers of pyknocytes were observed in the peripheral blood of a Negro gold-miner shortly after he developed heat-stroke. Examination of these cells under the scanning electron microscope showed aggregation of the cell content to one pole and fragmentation of the surface membrane. Heatstroke was complicated by uraemia, acidosis and mild hepatocellular damage. Attempts to induce this morphological change in vitro by heating erythrocytes for varying times, at differing pH’s and in uraemic serum were unsuccessful. The mechanism of production of pyknocytes in this patient is not known
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© 1973 S. Karger AG, Basel
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