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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1999 Oct 15;1421(2):306-16.

Membrane effects of nitrite-induced oxidation of human red blood cells.

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Institute of Biochemistry, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, BLK-50, 230017, Grodno, Belarus.


The aim of our investigation was to study the red blood cell (RBC) membrane effects of NaNO(2)-induced oxidative stress. Hyperpolarization of erythrocyte membranes and an increase in membrane rigidity have been shown as a result of RBC oxidation by sodium nitrite. These membrane changes preceded reduced glutathione depletion and were observed simultaneously with methemoglobin (metHb) formation. Changes of the glutathione pool (total and reduced glutathione, and mixed protein-glutathione disulfides) during nitrite-induced erythrocyte oxidation have been demonstrated. The rates of intracellular oxyhemoglobin and GSH oxidation highly increased as pH decreased in the range of 7.5-6.5. The activation energy of intracellular metHb formation obtained from the temperature dependence of the rate of HbO(2) oxidation in RBC was equal to 16.7+/-1.6 kJ/mol in comparison with 12.8+/-1.5 kJ/mol calculated for metHb formation in hemolysates. It was found that anion exchange protein (band 3 protein) of the erythrocyte membrane does not participate significantly in the transport of nitrite ions into the erythrocytes as band 3 inhibitors (DIDS, SITS) did not decrease the intracellular HbO(2) oxidation by extracellular nitrite.

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