Previous investigations have demonstrated that L-sorbose induces hemolysis of dog erythrocytes. This effect is probably the consequence of an ATP depletion of the red blood cells subsequent to inhibition of hexokinase, and thus the glycolytic pathway, by sorbose 1-phosphate. In the present study, the susceptibility of dog erythrocytes to D-tagatose, a stereoisomer of L-sorbose, was examined. Washed dog erythrocytes were suspended in Hanks' balanced salt solution (HBSS, containing 5.6 mM glucose) with or without the addition of 0.6, 6, and 60 mM L-sorbose or D-tagatose, or in HBSS with total glucose concentrations of 5.6, 6 and 60 mM D-glucose. After incubation for 24 h at 34°C, the suspensions were centrifuged, and the percentage of hemolysis was determined by measuring the hemoglobin in the sediment and the supernatant. The amount of hemoglobin released in the medium did not differ significantly between the control (HBSS) and the test incubations with glucose or D-tagatose supplementation. In contrast, the addition of 6 and 60 mM L-sorbose resulted in significant hemolysis. At the low dose (0.6 mM), L-sorbose did not have an adverse effect. It is concluded that D-tagatose, unlike L-sorbose, does not have a hemolytic effect on canine erythrocytes. © 1999 Academic Press.