∞ generated and posted on 2016.03.18 ∞
Alternative name for osmotic lysis.
Figure legend: Red blood cells (RBCs), because they lack cell walls, are prone to osmotic lysis given suspension in a hypotonic, that is, low-solute solution. Because solute concentrations inside of these cells is high in comparison with outside, the water osmotically 'rushes' into the cells, expanding the cytoplasm to the point of bursting. Here the small, black circles found both inside and outside of the RBCs are solute particles, i.e., ions or molecules.
Within the context of immunology and the action of natural killer cells, cytolysis occurs (or, at least, was once thought to occur…) following the insertion of perforin proteins into the plasma membranes of target cells.