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Curr Drug Discov Technol. 2012 Sep;9(3):204-11.

Systems biology of HBOC-induced vasoconstriction.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology & Biotechnology, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA.


Vasoconstriction is a major adverse effect of HBOCs. The use of a single drug for attenuating HBOC-induced vasoconstriction has been tried with limited success. Since HBOC causes disruptions at multiple levels of organization in the vascular system, a systems approach is helpful to explore avenues to counteract the effects of HBOC at multiple levels by targeting multiple sites in the system. A multi-target approach is especially appropriate for HBOC-induced vasoconstriction, because HBOC disrupts the cascade of amplification by NO-cGMP signaling and protein phosphorylation, ultimately resulting in vasoconstriction. Targeting multiple steps in the cascade may alter the overall gain of amplification, thereby limiting the propagation of disruptive effects through the cascade. As a result, targeting multiple sites may accomplish a relatively high overall efficacy at submaximal drug doses. Identifying targets and doses for developing a multi-target combination HBOC regimen for oxygen therapeutics requires a detailed understanding of the systems biology and phenotypic heterogeneity of the vascular system at multiple layers of organization, which can be accomplished by successive iterations between experimental studies and mathematical modeling at multiple levels of vascular systems and organ systems. Towards this goal, this article addresses the following topics: a) NO-scavenging by HBOC, b) HBOC autoxidation-induced reactive oxygen species generation and endothelial barrier dysfunction, c) NO- cGMP signaling in vascular smooth muscle cells, d) NO and cGMP-dependent regulation of contractile filaments in vascular smooth muscle cells, e) phenotypic heterogeneity of vascular systems, f) systems biology as an approach to developing a multi-target HBOC regimen.

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