Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Inhaled nitric oxide may help sickle cell disease

24.10.2005


Inhaling a small dose of nitric oxide gas may one day help sickle cell patients avoid pain crises and live healthier lives, researchers say.



Nitric oxide may help normalize a sickle cell patient’s hemoglobin by restoring the natural charge and shape to the oxygen-carrying component of red blood cells, Medical College of Georgia researchers have found.

“Hemoglobin S plus nitric oxide behaves much like normal adult hemoglobin, which does not sickle,” says Dr. C. Alvin Head, chair of the Medical College of Georgia Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine.


In fact, their test-tube studies of human hemoglobin show nitric oxide not only prevents unhealthy clustering of hemoglobin S molecules but can melt existing polymers, leaving more hemoglobin free to do its job of oxygen delivery to the body.

Inhaling the short-acting gas naturally found on hemoglobin allows low concentrations to come in close contact with red blood cells and essentially turns the lungs into a hemoglobin repair shop.

“This is clearly a novel idea,” Dr. Head says of findings that show the extra nitric oxide changes the neutral charge of hemoglobin S to the slightly negative charge much like normal hemoglobin. It could also help prevent development of the unwanted hemoglobin S polymers in the microcirculation when oxygen levels are lower, once hemoglobin releases its oxygen to the tissues.

Those surface irregularities create unfortunate puzzle pieces that help hemoglobin S molecules fit together to form the polymer. The neutral charge permits this abnormal bonding that eventually deforms the red blood cells that carry them, Dr. Head says. “As the polymer gets longer, it binds to the red cell membrane and begins to deform the cell. If you can prevent this from occurring, you won’t get the abnormal-shaped cells,” he says or the resulting pain crises as the sickled cells deprive body tissue of adequate oxygen.

Add nitric oxide to the equation and the newly created negative charge helps hemoglobin molecules repel each other and stay independent, round and functional, he says of findings being presented during the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ annual meeting in Atlanta Oct. 22-26. Sabina Wang, a research associate who performed these studies, will present their work. Dr. Steffen Meiler, vice chair of research for the MCG Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, also is a contributing co-author.

Oxygen also can break apart dangerous polymers, but the smaller nitric oxide is more agile, has a higher affinity for hemoglobin and – perhaps most importantly – can normalize the charge of hemoglobin S, Ms. Wang notes.

Anesthesiologists and other physicians already give low doses of nitric oxide to patients for reasons such as hypoxic respiratory failure in the newborn.

“We knew that nitric oxide would bind to hemoglobin very, very rapidly,” says Dr. Head. “That has been very well proven in the medical literature. In fact, that is the basis of why when you inhale it in very low concentrations, you do not get systemic vascular effects,” he says of the powerful dilator of blood vessels. “It rapidly crosses the lungs, binds to the hemoglobin, then circulates in the blood.” It was when he was giving nitric oxide to lung transplant patients years ago, patients who might end up breathing the gas for days or weeks at a time without apparent ill effects, that he first considered how it also might benefit sickle cell patients.

Previously published studies by Dr. Head and his colleagues in a hypoxic animal model for sickle cell disease showed the animals who breathed nitric oxide gas are the ones that survived.

“This is not a cure, but we think it will get patients out of a crisis earlier or maybe prevent a crisis,” says Dr. Head of the potential therapy that may one day be used by sickle cells patients like inhalers are used by asthmatics.

The MCG researchers already are working with University of Georgia researchers to crystalize hemoglobin S and identify all points of action for nitric oxide. “We know there is a charge change globally, but we want to identify the exact sites where it’s binding and might have its biggest impact,” Dr. Head says.

Toni Baker | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mcg.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>