Hemoglobin vesicles reduce hypoxia-related inflammation in critically ischemic hamster flap tissue

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The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a highly viscous, left-shifted hemoglobin vesicle solution (HbV) on the hypoxia-related inflammation and the microcirculation in critically ischemic peripheral tissue.


Randomized prospective study.


University laboratory.


Twenty-four male golden Syrian hamsters.


Island flaps were dissected from the back skin of anesthetized hamsters for assessment with intravital microscopy. The flap included a critically ischemic, hypoxic area that was perfused via a collateralized vasculature. One hour after completion of the preparation, the animals received an injection of 25% of total blood volume of 0.9% NaCl or NaCl suspended with HbVs at a concentration of 5 g/dL (HbV5) or 10 g/dL (HbV10).

Measurements and Main Results:

Plasma viscosity was increased from 1.32 cP to 1.61 cP and 2.14 cP after the administration of HbV5 and HbV10, respectively (both p < .01). Both HbV solutions raised partial oxygen tension (Clark-type microprobes) in the ischemic tissue from approximately 10 torr to 17 torr (p < .01), which was paralleled by an increase in capillary perfusion by >200% (p < .01). The 50% increase in macromolecular capillary leakage found over time in the control animals was completely abolished by the HbV solutions (p < .01), which was accompanied by a >50% (p < .01) reduction in cells immunohistochemically stained for tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6 and in leukocyte counts, whereas no such changes were observed in the anatomically perfused, normoxic tissue.


Our study suggests that in critically ischemic, hypoxic peripheral tissue, hypoxia-related inflammation may be reduced by a top-load infusion of HbV solutions. We attributed this effect to a restoration of tissue oxygenation and an increase in plasma viscosity, both of which may have resulted in attenuation of secondary microcirculatory impairments.

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