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Biophysical properties of tense quaternary state polymerized human hemoglobins bracketed between 500 kDa and 0.2 μm in size
Biotechnology Progress  (IF2.681),  Pub Date : 2021-10-08, DOI: 10.1002/btpr.3219
Clayton T. Cuddington, Savannah R. Wolfe, Andre F. Palmer

Polymerized hemoglobin (Hb)-based oxygen carriers (HBOCs) are a scalable and cost-effective red blood cell (RBC) substitute. However, previous generations of commercial polymerized HBOCs elicited oxidative tissue injury in vivo due to the presence of low molecular weight polymeric Hb species (<500 kDa) and cell-free Hb (64 kDa). Polymerized human Hb (PolyhHb) locked in the tense quaternary state (T-state) exhibits great promise to meet clinical needs where past polymerized HBOCs failed. This work shows that separation of T-state PolyhHb via a two-stage tangential flow filtration (TFF) purification train such that the Hb polymers are bracketed between 500 kDa and 0.2 μm creates a uniform polymer size and largely eliminates the Hb species which elicit deleterious side effects in vivo. Biophysical characterization of these materials demonstrates their potential effectiveness as an RBC substitute and verifies the low percentage of low molecular weight Hb polymers and cell-free Hb. Size exclusion chromatography confirms that T-state PolyhHb can be consistently produced in a size range between 500 kDa and 0.2 μm. Furthermore, the average molecular weight of all PolyhHb species produced is one or two orders of magnitude larger than that of the commercial polymerized HBOCs Hemolink and Oxyglobin, respectively. Haptoglobin binding kinetics confirms that two-stage TFF processing of PolyhHb reliably removes cell-free Hb and low molecular weight polymeric Hb species. T-state PolyhHbs demonstrate lower auto-oxidation rates compared to unmodified Hb and prior generations of commercial polymerized HBOCs. These results demonstrate T-state PolyhHb's feasibility as a next-generation polymerized HBOC for potential use in transfusion medicine.