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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2009 Oct;297(4):H1243-53. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00327.2009. Epub 2009 Jul 17.

Inhaled carbon monoxide reduces leukocytosis in a murine model of sickle cell disease.

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Division of Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota MedicalSchool, Minneapolis, USA.


Carbon monoxide (CO) has anti-inflammatory properties. We previously reported that acute treatments with inhaled CO inhibit vascular inflammation and hypoxia-induced vasoocclusion in sickle cell disease mouse models. Therefore, we hypothesized that chronic CO inhalation would decrease vascular inflammation and organ pathology in a sickle cell disease mouse model. The treatment of sickle cell disease mice with 25 or 250 parts/million inhaled CO for 1 h/day, 3 days/wk for 8-10 wk significantly decreased the total mean white blood cell, neutrophil, and lymphocyte counts in peripheral blood. Eight weeks of 250 parts/million CO treatments reduced staining for myeloid and lymphoid markers in the bone marrow of sickle mice. Bone marrow from treated sickle mice exhibited a significant decrease in colony-forming unit granulocyte-macrophage during colony-forming cell assays. Anti-inflammatory signaling pathways phospho-Akt and phospho-p38 MAPK were markedly increased in CO-treated sickle livers. Importantly, CO-treated sickle mice had a significant reduction in liver parenchymal necrosis, reflecting the anti-inflammatory benefits of CO. We conclude that inhaled CO may be a beneficial anti-inflammatory therapy for sickle cell disease.

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