Pronounced in vivo hemoglobin polymerization in red blood cells of Gulf toadfish: A general role for hemoglobin aggregation in vertebrate hemoparasite defense?

Pia Koldkjær, M. Danielle McDonald, Ian Prior, Michael Berenbrink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two human hemoglobin (Hb) variants, Hb C and Hb S, are known to protect against Plasmodium falciparum malaria and have evolved repeatedly in malaria endemic areas. Both aggregate to insoluble crystals (Hb C) or polymers (Hb S) under certain physiological conditions, impair parasite growth, and may facilitate retention of infected red blood cells (RBCs) in the spleen. Given the profound effects of parasites on host evolution in general, and that RBC Hb concentration is often close to its solubility limit throughout vertebrates, similar mechanisms may operate in nonhuman vertebrates. Here we show exercise-induced, profound in vivo Hb polymerization in RBCs of the Gulf toadfish. Hb aggregation was closely associated with the extent of plasma acidosis, fully reversible, and without any signs of hemolysis or anemia. Our literature analysis suggests that aggregation prone Hbs may be relatively old, evolved multiple times in nonhuman vertebrates, show enhanced aggregation during hemoparasite infections, and can be uncovered in vivo by splenectomy. We discuss the working hypothesis that widespread Hb aggregation within several vertebrate groups may be the result of ongoing or past selection pressure against RBC parasites. Further comparative studies of these evolutionary old systems may provide valuable insights into hemoparasite susceptibility and reservoir potential of livestock and companion animals but also into human malaria and sickle cell disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1190-R1199
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Volume305
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 15 2013

Keywords

  • Malaria
  • Opsanus beta
  • Parasite
  • Plasma acidosis
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Sickle cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Pronounced in vivo hemoglobin polymerization in red blood cells of Gulf toadfish: A general role for hemoglobin aggregation in vertebrate hemoparasite defense?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this