Research Article| Volume 20, ISSUE 1, P5-16, February 1999

Rheological behaviour of red blood cells suspended in hemoglobin solutions.

In vitro study comparing dextran-benzene-tetra-carboxylate hemoglobin, stroma free hemoglobin and plasma expanders


      Circulating volume expansion for intentional hemodilution and/or resuscitation of hemorrhagic shock can be performed with hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers (HBOC) which, in addition to oxygen transport, have vasoactive effects through poorly documented mechanisms. Among these, the effects of HBOC on red blood cell (RBC) rheology are relatively unknown. The aim of the present in vitro study was to measure the rheological effects of human hemoglobin bound to benzene-tetracarboxylate substituted dextran (Dex-BTC-Hb) as an example of chemically modified hemoglobin. The viscosity was assessed with a capillary and a rotational viscometer for shear rates of 0.5–128 s−1. Erythrocyte aggregation was determined by analysis of the red light backscattered in a RBC suspension and with a rheoscope. The deformability was determined by the pressure–flow relationship of the RBC suspensions passed through polycarbonate filters. At hematocrit of 0.35 l/l and at low shear rates, the viscosity of RBC was higher in the presence of Dex-BTC-Hb as compared to free Hb, Dex-BTC, Dextran 40 (Plasmacair®), modified fluid gelatin (MFG-Plasmion®) or hydroxyethyl starch (HEA-Elohes®). The effect on erythrocyte aggregation of Dex-BTC-Hb was greater than that of standard solutions, but close to that of MFG or HEA. There was no apparent change in RBC deformability. Dex-BTC-Hb, unlike free Hb, has a hyperaggregating effect on RBC, similar to that of some clinically used volume expanders. This hyperaggregating effect could influence the in vivo rheological behavior of substituted Hb by increasing shear stress.



      Dex-BTC=benzene-tetracarboxylate substituted dextran (), Hb=hemoglobin (), HBOC=hemoglobin based oxygen carrier (), HEA=hydroxyethyl starch (), MAP=mean arterial pressure (), MFG=modified fluid gelatin (), NO=nitric oxide (), RBC=red blood cell (), Tyr=Tyrode solution (), tA=primary aggregation time (), tF=final aggregation time (), γ̇D=partial disaggregation of rouleaux (), γ̇S=total disaggregation of rouleaux ()
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