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Hemin is a potential cytolytic agent. To test the effect of vitamin E on hemin-mediated permeability in cell membranes, sheep erythrocytes were chosen as an appropriate model to study hemolysis induced by hemin. Hemin-induced hemolysis but did not elicit lipid peroxidation in sheep erythrocytes. Vitamin E was effective in inhibiting hemin-mediated hemolysis. Both chromanol ring and the isoprenoid side chain of tocopherols were essential for inhibition of hemin-induced hemolysis. There was a strong correlation between the inhibitory effects of tocopherols on hemin-induced erythrocyte hemolysis and their effects on fluorescence anisotropy of cell membranes. Our results suggested that, in contrast to its antioxidant activity, vitamin E inhibits hemolysis induced by hemin as a membrane stabilizing agent.