Does the extracorporeal circulation worsen anemia in hemodialysis patients? Investigation with advanced microscopes of red blood cells drawn at the beginning and end of dialysis
Dimosthenis Stamopoulos,1 Nerantzoula Bakirtzi,2,3 Efthymios Manios,1 Eirini Grapsa4
1Institute of Advanced Materials, Physicochemical Processes, Nanotechnology and Microsystems, National Center for Scientific Research 'Demokritos,' Athens, Greece; 2Department of Nephrology, Hospital 'G. Gennimatas,' Athens, Greece; 3Renal Unit, Hospital 'Alexandra,' Athens, Greece; 4Renal Unit, Hospital 'Aretaieion,' Athens, Greece
Background: In hemodialysis (HD) patients, anemia relates to three main factors: insufficient production of erythropoietin; impaired management of iron; and decreased lifespan of red blood cells (RBCs). The third factor can relate to structural deterioration of RBCs due to extrinsic (extracorporeal circuit; biochemical activation and/or mechanical stress during dialysis) and intrinsic (uremic milieu; biochemical interference of the RBC membrane constituents with toxins) mechanisms. Herein, we evaluate information accessed with advanced imaging techniques at the cellular level.
Methods: Atomic force and scanning electron microscopes were employed to survey intact RBCs (iRBCs) of seven HD patients in comparison to seven healthy donors. The extrinsic factor was investigated by contrasting pre- and post-HD samples. The intrinsic environment was investigated by comparing the microscopy data with the clinical ones.
Results: The iRBC membranes of the enrolled HD patients were overpopulated with orifice-like (high incidence; typical size within 100–1,000 nm) and crevice-like (low incidence; typical size within 500–4,000 nm) defects that exhibited a statistically significant (P < 0.05) relative increase (+55% and +350%, respectively) in respect to healthy donors. The relative variation of the orifice and crevice indices (mean population of orifices and crevices per top membrane surface) between pre- and post-HD was not statistically significant (−3.3% and +4.5%, respectively). The orifice index correlates with the concentrations of urea, calcium, and phosphorus, but not, however, with that of creatinine.
Conclusion: Extracorporeal circulation is not detrimental to the structural integrity of RBC membranes. Uremic milieu is a candidate cause of RBC membrane deterioration, which possibly worsens anemia.
Keywords: hemodialysis, anemia, red blood cells, atomic force microscopy, scanning electron microscopy
This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.Download Article [PDF] View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]