Bioconjugate chemistry

Red blood cells donate electrons to methylene blue mediated chemical reduction of methemoglobin compartmentalized in liposomes in blood.

PMID 24877769


Electron-energy-rich coenzymes in cells, NADH and NADPH, are re-energized repeatedly through the Embden-Meyerhof and pentose-phosphate glycolytic pathways, respectively. This study demonstrates extraction of their electron energies in red blood cells (RBCs) for in vivo extracellular chemical reactions using an electron mediator shuttling across the biomembrane. Hemoglobin-vesicles (HbVs) are an artificial oxygen carrier encapsulating purified and concentrated Hb solution in liposomes. Because of the absence of a metHb-reducing enzymatic system in HbV, HbO2 gradually autoxidizes to form metHb. Wistar rats received HbV suspension (10 mL/kg body weight) intravenously. At the metHb level of around 50%, methylene blue [MB(+); 3,7-bis(dimethylamino)phenothiazinium chloride] was injected. The level of metHb quickly decreased to around 16% in 40 min, remaining for more than 5 h. In vitro mixing of HbV/MB(+) with RBCs recreated the in vivo metHb reduction, but not with plasma. NAD(P)H levels in RBCs decreased after metHb reduction. The addition of glucose facilitated metHb reduction. Liposome-encapsulated NAD(P)H, a model of RBC, reduced metHb in HbV in the presence of MB(+). These results indicate that (i) NAD(P)H in RBCs reacts with MB(+) to convert it to leukomethylene blue (MBH); (ii) MB(+) and MBH shuttle freely between RBC and HbV across the hydrophobic lipid membranes; and (iii) MBH is transferred into HbV and reduces metHb in HbV. Four other electron mediators with appropriate redox potentials appeared to be as effective as MB(+) was, indicating the possibility for further optimization of electron mediators. We established an indirect enzymatic metHb reducing system for HbV using unlimited endogenous electrons created in RBCs in combination with an effective electron mediator that prolongs the functional lifespan of HbV in blood circulation.

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