Coating Hemoglobin To Make Artificial Blood Safe

Scientists have successfully wrapped hemoglobin in polymer, paving the way for safe and effective artificial blood.

AsianScientist (May 10, 2017) – In a study published in Biomacromolecules, researchers describe a promising blood substitute that could effectively carry oxygen and also scavenge for potentially damaging free radicals.

Blood transfusions can save the lives of patients who have suffered major blood loss, but hospitals don’t always have enough or the right type on hand. Red blood cells carry the protein hemoglobin, which performs the essential function of delivering oxygen to the body’s tissues.

Scientists have tried developing chemically modified hemoglobin—which by itself is toxic—as a blood substitute but have found that it forms methemoglobin. This form of the protein doesn’t bind oxygen and thus decreases the amount of oxygen that blood delivers in the body. In addition, the generation of methemoglobin produces hydrogen peroxide, which leads to cell damage.

In the present study, a team of researchers led by Dr. Wang Quan from the Beijing Institute of Transfusion Medicine wanted to see if packaging hemoglobin in a benign envelope could get around these problems.

The researchers developed a one-step method for wrapping hemoglobin in polydopamine, or PDA, which has been widely studied for biomedical applications. A battery of lab tests showed that the PDA-coated hemoglobin effectively carried oxygen, while preventing the formation of methemoglobin and hydrogen peroxide. In addition, it caused minimal cell damage, and acted as an effective antioxidant, scavenging for potentially damaging free radicals and reactive oxygen species.

The article can be found at: Wang et al. (2017) Bioinspired Polydopamine-Coated Hemoglobin as Potential Oxygen Carrier with Antioxidant Properties.

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Source: American Chemical Society; Photo: Pixabay.
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