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Am J Physiol. 1995 Aug;269(2 Pt 2):H648-55.

Oxidative-stress response in vascular endothelial cells exposed to acellular hemoglobin solutions.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093, USA.


We investigated the effect of different hemoglobins on the activation of endothelial heme oxygenase (HO), an inducible "stress" protein, which is responsible for heme catabolism, and we determined whether the propensity of hemoglobins to autoxidize correlates with endothelial heme uptake and cell injury. Porcine aortic endothelial cells were incubated for 6 h in the presence of 60 microM unmodified hemoglobin A0 (HbA0), hemoglobin cross-linked between the alpha-chains with bis-(3,5-dibromosalicyl)fumarate (alpha alpha Hb), or cyanomet-alpha alpha-hemoglobin (CNmet alpha alpha Hb). Endothelial HO activity augmented 4.1-fold in the presence of alpha alpha Hb, 2.7-fold with HbA0, and 1.8-fold with CNmet alpha alpha Hb over the control value. Deferoxamine, but not catalase or dimethylthiourea, partially attenuated the HO induction produced by alpha alpha Hb. The rates of methemoglobin formation exhibited a linear relationship over the time of incubation (r = 0.94), and the apparent rate constant was 1.8-fold higher for alpha alpha Hb (0.023 h-1) than for HbA0 (0.013 h-1). Endothelial heme content and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release, an index of cell injury, were also higher in alpha alpha Hb compared with HbA0 and CNmet alpha alpha Hb groups (P < 0.05). Deferoxamine but not catalase markedly reduced the release of LDH induced by alpha alpha Hb, whereas dimethylthiourea provided only a partial cytoprotection. These studies suggest that 1) the higher rate of oxidation of alpha alpha Hb contributes to the augmented endothelial HO activity, and 2) both heme release and iron-mediated oxygen radical formation are major contributors to endothelial oxidative stress and cytotoxicity generated by the cross-linked hemoglobin.

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