Article

Blood aging, safety, and transfusion: capturing the "radical" menace.

Division of Hematology, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling (Impact Factor: 8.2). 10/2010; 14(9):1713-28. DOI: 10.1089/ars.2010.3447
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Throughout their life span, circulating red blood cells (RBCs) transport oxygen (O(2)) primarily from the lungs to tissues and return with carbon dioxide (CO(2)) from respiring tissues for final elimination by lungs. This simplistic view of RBCs as O(2) transporter has changed in recent years as other gases, for example, nitric oxide (NO), and small molecules, such as adenosine triphosphate (ATP), have been shown to either be produced and/or carried by RBCs to perform other signaling and O(2) sensing functions. In spite of the numerous biochemical and metabolic changes occurring within RBCs during storage, prior to, and after transfusion, perturbations of RBC membrane are likely to affect blood flow in the microcirculation. Subsequent hemolysis due to storage conditions and/or hemolytic disorders may have some pathophysiological consequences as a result of the release of Hb. In this review, we show that evolution has provided a multitude of protection and intervention strategies against free Hb from "cradle" to "death"; from early biosynthesis to its final degradation and a lot more in between. Furthermore, some of the same naturally occurring protective mechanisms can potentially be employed to oxidatively inactivate this redox active protein and control its damaging side reactions when released outside of the RBC.

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