Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Handbook for the Physiological Laboratory. Text
Burdon-Sanderson, John Scott E. Klein Michael Foster T. Lauder Brunton
its vascular system contains, the blood column oscillating 
with the contractions of the heart. If now the tube is left 
to itself, no coagulation takes place. In a very few minutes 
the corpuscles begin to subside, leaving an upper layer of clear 
liquid, the depth of which gradually increases. If it is removed 
with a capillary pipette and submitted to examination, it is found 
to possess all the properties which are characteristic of plasma. 
It contains scarcely any coloured but a considerable number of 
colourless corpuscles. 
Section III.—The Colouring Matter. 
10. Methods by which the Blood can be rendered Trans- 
parent or Laky.—It has long been known that, when water is 
added to blood in quantity, the blood corpuscles are appa¬ 
rently dissolved in the diluted liquor sanguinis. This solution 
is, however, only partial ; for, if the liquid is examined under 
the microscope, each corpuscle is seen to be represented by 
a colourless spheroidal residue. This residue was formerly 
described as the membrane of the corpuscle, rather in con¬ 
formity to the notion that, being a cell, it must have a mem¬ 
brane, than because the structure in question possessed mem¬ 
branous characters. We now recognize it, not as a membrane, 
but as the porous structure fully described in the histological 
part as the cecoid. 
There are many other methods by which the zooid may be 
compelled to relinquish its dwelling without altering the density 
of the serum at all. So long ago as 1851, Dr. De Chaumont dis¬ 
covered that the vapour of chloroform had this effect. That of 
ether acts in the same way, but not so rapidly. More recently, 
it has been shown by Rollett that the same effects are produced 
by freezing, as well as by electrical discharges and induction 
currents. In all these cases (as has been already seen as regards 
some of them) the blood undergoes a remarkable change of 
appearance. In the natural state, blood, even in the thinnest 
layers, is opaque. One may judge of this by looking at it 
either by transparent light (as, e.g., in a very thin capillary 
tube) or by reflected light, spread out in a thin layer over the 
surface of a porcelain capsule. In the former case the blood 
presents the appearance of a solid-looking band in the axis of a 
glass rod, in the latter it appears as a bright scarlet patch, com¬ 
pletely concealing the white surface, and obscuring the light 
which would otherwise be reflected by it. If, however, the blood 
has been subjected to any of the processes above mentioned, the 
appearances it presents in the two cases are materially altered. 
The blood in the tube looks bright, because it is translucent, 


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