Indexed on: 24 Jul '08Published on: 24 Jul '08Published in: Artificial cells, blood substitutes, and immobilization biotechnology
The objective of this study was to examine the effects of polyethylene glycol (PEG) treated red blood cells (RBCs) on the microcirculation in a hamster back skin window chamber model. Donor hamster RBCs were PEGylated through an incubation with an activated PEG solution, washed, resuspended, and infused through a 10% volume top loading procedure into the carotid artery in an awake Syrian Golden hamster. Eight hamster groups were treated with activated PEG different sizes and concentrations: 0.05 mM-5 kDa PEG, 0.5 mM-5 kDa PEG, 1.1 mM-5 kDa PEG, 2.2 mM-5 kDa PEG, 22 mM-5 kDa PEG, 0.05 mM-20 kDa PEG, 0.5 mM-20 kDa PEG, and 5 mM-20 kDa PEG. Non-treated RBCs were used as control. The microvascular bed under observation was videotaped 30 min before the infusion and followed for 30 min post infusion. The diameter of individual blood vessels and blood flow velocities in selected vessels was measured. Hematocrit and hemoglobin concentration were recorded before infusion and at the end of experiment. Tissue pO(2) was also monitored. Results showed the hamsters tolerated the PEGylated RBCs without apparent ill effects. No significant changes were recorded for the hematocrit, the hemoglobin concentration, the blood vessel diameters, blood flow velocities, and the interstitial partial oxygen pressure (pO(2)) before, during, and after the injections of PEG-RBCs (P > 0.05). Unlike most hemoglobin-based oxygen carrying compounds, which can cause vasoconstriction, the PEGylated RBCs did not produce any measurable vasoactivity. Together with the absence of rouleaux formation and the fact that PEG molecules can mask the surface antigens on RBCs, PEGylation appeared promising as a circulation enhancement treatment.