Author(s): May A, Huehns ER
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Abstract The effect of the concentration of haemoglobin S (Hb S) on its oxygen-dissociation properties was studied using either reconstituted Hb-S cells of different mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentrations (MCHCs) prepared by osmotic lysis, or cells in which Hb S is diluted by the presence of another haemoglobin. Only 4\% (phosphate buffer) and 21\%(bis Tris) of the low oxygen affinity of fresh Hb-S cells was found to be due to their slightly elevated intracellular 2,3-DPG concentrations since when the cells were depleted of 2,3-DPG most of the low affinity remained. The low affinity showed a marked dependence upon haemoglobin concentration which was absent for 2,3-DPG-depleted Hb-A cells and, by extrapolation, the MCHC at which the oxygen affinities of the Hb-S cells became identical to that of the Hb-A cells was 14.5 g/dl in phosphate buffer and 13.1 g/dl in bis Tris. Both fresh and 2,3-DPG-depleted cells containing another haemoglobin as well as Hb S (Hb-SA, Hb-SC and Hb-SF cells) were also found to have low oxygen affinities provided that the intracellular Hb-S concentration(MC(Hb-S)C) was above a certain level. These also showed a strong dependence upon the MC(Hb-S)C. The mean MC(Hb-S)C at which the low oxygen affinities of the DPG-depleted cells were abolished were 8.3 g/dl (phosphate) and 11.2 g/dl (bis Tris). Hb F in fresh Hb-SF cells brought about a much greater increase in oxygen affinity than the same amount of either Hb A or Hb C. In 2,3-DPG depleted cells Hb A showed a greater ability to 'dilute' the Hb S than did Hb C. The conditions for the low oxygen affinity of Hb S were therefore found to be very similar to those required for the gelling of both pure Hb S, and Hb S in haemoglobin mixtures. It was concluded therefore that the low oxygen affinity of the Hb S was caused by the polymerization and that the difference between the oxygen affinities of Hb-S and Hb-A cells may be used as a measure of the polymerization process.
This article was published in Br J Haematol
and referenced in Journal of Blood Disorders & Transfusion