Magnetophoretic and spectral characterization of oxyhemoglobin and deoxyhemoglobin: Chemical versus enzymatic processes

PLoS One. 2021 Sep 3;16(9):e0257061. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0257061. eCollection 2021.


A new method for hemoglobin (Hb) deoxygenation, in suspension or within red blood cells (RBCs) is described using the commercial enzyme product, EC-Oxyrase®. The enzymatic deoxygenation method has several advantages over established deoxygenation methodologies, such as avoiding side reactions that produce methemoglobin (metHb), thus eliminating the need for an inert deoxygenation gas and airtight vessel, and facilitates easy re-oxygenation of Hb/RBCs by washing with a buffer that contains dissolved oxygen (DO). The UV-visible spectra of deoxyHb and metHb purified from human RBCs using three different preparation methods (sodium dithionite [to produce deoxyHb], sodium nitrite [to produce metHb], and EC-Oxyrase® [to produce deoxyHb]) show the high purity of deoxyHb prepared using EC-Oxyrase® (with little to no metHb or hemichrome production from side reactions). The oxyHb deoxygenation time course of EC-Oxyrase® follows first order reaction kinetics. The paramagnetic characteristics of intracellular Hb in RBCs were compared using Cell Tracking Velocimetry (CTV) for healthy and sickle cell disease (SCD) donors and oxygen equilibrium curves show that the function of healthy RBCs is unchanged after EC-Oxyrase® treatment. The results confirm that this enzymatic approach to deoxygenation produces pure deoxyHb, can be re-oxygenated easily, prepared aerobically and has similar paramagnetic mobility to existing methods of producing deoxyHb and metHb.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Sickle Cell
  • Female
  • Hemoglobins / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Magnetics*
  • Male
  • Methemoglobin / analysis
  • Oxygen / analysis
  • Oxyhemoglobins / analysis*
  • Tissue Donors


  • Hemoglobins
  • Oxyhemoglobins
  • deoxyhemoglobin
  • Methemoglobin
  • Oxygen