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Effect of selected drugs used in asthma treatment on morphology and elastic properties of red blood cells

Authors Zuk, Targosz-Korecka M, Szymonski M

Published 27 January 2011 Volume 2011:6 Pages 249—257


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Anna Zuk, Marta Targosz-Korecka, Marek Szymonski
Research Centre for Nanometer-Scale Science and Advanced Materials, Faculty of Physics, Astronomy, and Applied Computer Science, Jagiellonian University, Reymonta 4, 30-059 Krakow, Poland

Background: The main function of red blood cells is to transport oxygen to all parts of the body with the help of hemoglobin. Other proteins of the cell membrane can attach xenobiotics (eg, drugs) from the blood and transport them throughout the body. Only drugs able to bind to the membrane of the red blood cell can modify its structure and elastic properties. The morphology and local elastic properties of living red blood cells incubated with drug solutions commonly used in the treatment of severe asthma were studied by atomic force microscopy and nanoindentation with an atomic force microscopy tip.
Methods: The elasticity modules of native red blood cells, as well as those incubated with two types of drugs, ie, aminophylline and methylprednisolone, were determined from experimentally measured nanoindentation curves.
Results: The elasticity modules of erythrocytes incubated with aminophylline were substantially higher than those obtained for nonincubated native, ie, healthy, red blood cells.
Conclusion: The increase of the elasticity module obtained for aminophylline can reduce the cell's ability to bind oxygen and transport it through capillaries.

Keywords: nanoindentation, atomic force microscopy, erythrocytes, elasticity, asthma

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