Molecular dimensions of Hb-based O2 carriers determine constriction of resistance arteries and hypertension

Hiromi Sakai, Hiroyuki Hara, Minako Yuasa, Amy G. Tsai, Shinji Takeoka, Eishun Tsuchida*, Marcos Intaglietta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

180 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of molecular dimension of hemoglobin (Hb)-based O2 carriers on the diameter of resistance arteries (A0, 158 ± 21 μm) and arterial blood pressure were studied in the conscious hamster dorsal skinfold model. Cross-linked Hb (XLHb), polyethylene glycol (PEG)-conjugated Hb, hydroxyethylstarch-conjugated XLHb, polymerized XLHb, and PEG-modified Hb vesicles (PEG-HbV) were synthesized. Their molecular diameters were 7, 22, 47, 68, and 224 nm, respectively. The bolus infusion of 7 ml/kg of XLHb (5 g/dl) caused an immediate hypertension (+34 ± 13 mmHg at 3 h) with a simultaneous decrease in A0 diameter (79 ± 8% of basal value) and a blood flow decrease throughout the microvascular network. The diameter of smaller arterioles did not change significantly. Infusion of larger O2 carriers resulted in lesser vasoconstriction and hypertension, with PEG-HbV showing the smallest changes. Constriction of resistance arteries was found to be correlated with the level of hypertension, and the responses were proportional to the molecular dimensions of the O2 carriers. The underlying mechanism is not evident from these experiments; however, it is likely that the effects are related to the diffusion properties of the different Hb molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H908-H915
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number3 48-3
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Auto-regulation
  • Blood substitutes
  • Hemoglobin
  • Microcirculation
  • Nitric oxide
  • Resistance vessels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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