This study focuses on assessing the possible impact of changes in hemoglobin (Hb) oxygenation on the state of water in its hydration shell as it contributes to red blood cell deformability. Microwave Dielectric Spectroscopy (MDS) was used to monitor the changes in interactions between water molecules and Hb, the number of water molecules in the protein hydration shell, and the dynamics of pre-protein water in response to the transition of Hb from the tense (T) to the relaxed (R) state, and vice versa. Measurements were performed for Hb solutions of different concentrations (5 g/dl-30 g/dl) in phosphate-buffered saline buffer. Cole-Cole parameters of the main water relaxation peak in terms of interactions of water molecules (dipole-dipole/ionic dipole) during the oxygenation-deoxygenation cycle were used to analyze the obtained data. The water mobility-represented by α as a function of ln τ-differed dramatically between the R (oxygenated) state and the T (deoxygenated) state of Hb at physiologically relevant concentrations (30 g/dl-35 g/dl or 4.5 mM-5.5 mM). At these concentrations, oxygenated hemoglobin was characterized by substantially lower mobility of water in the hydration shell, measured as an increase in relaxation time, compared to deoxyhemoglobin. This change indicated an increase in red blood cell cytosolic viscosity when cells were oxygenated and a decrease in viscosity upon deoxygenation. Information provided by MDS on the intraerythrocytic water state of intact red blood cells reflects its interaction with all of the cytosolic components, making these measurements powerful predictors of the changes in the rheological properties of red blood cells, regardless of the cause.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank Keysight Technologies Israel Ltd. and INTERLLIGENT RF and Microwave Solutions for the loan of the Vector Network Analyzer Agilent, Grant No. N5234B PNA-L. The authors thank the Swiss National Science Foundation, Grant No. CRSII5_180234, for their financial support for the research project “Premembrane and cytosolic water as a marker of red blood cell aging in vivo and in vitro.” This study was supported by the Russian Science Foundation, Grant No. 19-14-00374, for modeling simulation (Figs. 7 and 11). The authors thank ISF Grant No. 341/18 for the financial support for this research project. There are no conflicts to declare.
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