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      Blood substitutes: Haemoglobin therapeutics in clinical practice


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          Early approaches to the development of oxygen carriers involved the use of stroma-free hemoglobin solutions. These solutions did not require blood typing or crossmatching and could be stored for long periods. In addition, a variety of methods have been developed in chemically modifying and stabilizing the hemoglobin molecule. Several hemoglobin therapeutics are now in clinical trials as temporary alternatives to blood or as therapeutic agents for ischemia. The various hemoglobin products under development are derived from three principal sources: human, bovine and genetically engineered hemoglobin. Diaspirin cross-linked hemoglobin (DCLHb), administered at doses ranging from approximately 20-1000 ml, has been investigated in a number of clinical trials in patients undergoing orthopedic, abdominal aortic repair, major abdominal surgery, cardiac surgery and in critically ill patients with septic shock. In several studies, DCLHb was effective in avoiding the transfusion. However, Baxter Healthcare Corporation (Chicago, Illinois, USA) stopped the development of DCLHb after two unsuccessful trials in trauma patients. Bovine polymerized hemoglobin has also been extensively studied. Several phase II and phase III trials have been performed with this product in hemorrhagic surgery, cardiac surgery and vascular surgery, but data have not yet been published. Hemoglobin therapeutics could provide an important new option as an alternative to blood transfusion. Furthermore, they may be able to provide an immediate on-site replacement for traumatic blood loss, prevent global ischemia and organ failure, treat focal ischemia, and provide effective hemodynamic support for septic shock-induced hypotension.

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          A human recombinant haemoglobin designed for use as a blood substitute.

          The need to develop a blood substitute is now urgent because of the increasing concern over blood-transmitted viral and bacterial pathogens. Cell-free haemoglobin solutions and human haemoglobin synthesized in Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae have been investigated as potential oxygen-carrying substitutes for red blood cells. But these haemoglobins cannot be used as a blood substitute because (1) the oxygen affinity in the absence of 2,3-bisphosphoglycerate is too high to allow unloading of enough oxygen in the tissues, and (2) they dissociate into alpha beta dimers that are cleared rapidly by renal filtration, which can result in long-term kidney damage. We have produced a human haemoglobin using an expression vector containing one gene encoding a mutant beta-globin with decreased oxygen affinity and one duplicated, tandemly fused alpha-globin gene. Fusion of the two alpha-globin subunits increases the half-life of this haemoglobin molecule in vivo by preventing its dissociation into alpha beta dimers and therefore also eliminates renal toxicity.
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            The glomerular filtration of hemoglobin (α2β2) was studied under conditions in which its dissociation into αβ dimers was experimentally altered. Rats receiving hemoglobin treated with the sulfhydryl reagent bis(N-maleimidomethyl) ether (BME) showed a much lower renal excretion and prolonged plasma survival as compared with animals injected with untreated hemoglobin. Plasma disappearance was also prolonged in dogs receiving BME hemoglobin. Gel filtration data indicated that under physiological conditions, BME hemoglobin had impaired subunit dissociation. In addition, BME hemoglobin showed a very high oxygen affinity and a decreased rate of auto-oxidation. Glomerular filtration was enhanced under conditions which favor the dissociation of hemoglobin into dimers. Cat hemoglobin, which forms subunits much more extensively than canine hemoglobin, was excreted more readily by the rat kidney. The renal uptake of 59Fe hemoglobin injected intra-arterially into rabbits varied inversely with the concentration of the injected dose.
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              Human haemoglobin from transgenic tobacco.


                Author and article information

                Crit Care
                Critical Care
                BioMed Central (London )
                28 September 1999
                : 3
                : 5
                : R99-R102
                [1 ]Hôpital Broussais, Paris, France.
                Copyright © 1999 Current Science Ltd
                : 16 August 1999
                : 6 September 1999

                Emergency medicine & Trauma
                hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers,trauma,avoidance of transfusion,surgical setting,critically ill patients


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