Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Natural Compounds Protect Red Blood Cells From Damage

Date:
February 25, 2000
Source:
Ohio University
Summary:
Two compounds that occur naturally in animals and people may help protect red blood cells against damage that can cause some forms of anemia, including one common in alcoholics.

ATHENS, Ohio -- Two compounds that occur naturally in animals and people may help protect red blood cells against damage that can cause some forms of anemia, including one common in alcoholics.

Related Articles


When red blood cells from 30 male alcoholics were mixed with the two compounds -- found in skeletal and heart muscles and in the central nervous system -- the compounds prevented alcohol's assault on red blood cells, also called erythrocytes, allowing the cells to keep their typical healthy shapes.

The study, published this month in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, was conducted by scientists at Ohio University and in Russia.

Anemia is a problem in chronic drinkers because ethanol, alcohol's intoxicating agent, weakens the structure of red blood cells, which transport oxygen to organs and tissues. Symptoms include a lack of energy, poor mental processing and a weakened immune system.

The scientists suspect the compounds under study -- carnosine and N-acetyl-carnosine -- work as antioxidants, substances that prevent a type of cell damage. The finding has implications for the development of a treatment for anemia in alcoholics, a protocol that currently involves weaning drinkers off alcohol while improving their diets, says Peter Johnson, professor of biomedical sciences and the lead researcher on the project from Ohio University.

Such a treatment would involve extracting the compounds from animal tissues and using them in a dietary supplement to protect red blood cells. Johnson's colleagues at two Russian institutions found that the compounds have a 50 percent absorption rate in the digestive tract, which means it's possible the treatment could be administered in a pill.

The work also may be relevant for certain nonalcoholic anemias, Johnson adds, though the compounds probably would not protect against iron deficiency anemias.

In the recent study on alcoholic anemia, blood samples from 30 male chronic drinkers showed that only 10 percent to 20 percent of red blood cells had normal, smooth-surfaced structures, with the majority displaying abnormal, spiky surfaces. The latter cells are unstable and have only about half the 120-day life span of healthy erythrocytes. Test tube experiments showed that carnosine or N-acetyl-carnosine dramatically decreased the percentage of the damaged, spiky-surfaced cells in the blood samples.

"They almost look like floating sea urchins," Johnson says. "This abnormal surface structure would be a signal for the mechanisms of the spleen to try to pull these out of circulation. That would contribute to the anemia."

While the researchers are hopeful their work one day will lead to help for alcoholics who have anemia, Johnson says there is much to be learned about the compounds first. Their exact function in the body hasn't been confirmed and tests on red blood cells so far have been conducted only in test tubes.

But the success of the laboratory studies and earlier work on the compounds' usefulness in treating eye cataracts suggests the compounds will perform well in protecting red blood cells in later trials.

"Our interest in using these compounds in erythrocytes is that they are natural and nontoxic compounds," Johnson says.

Study co-authors include Valentina D. Prokopieva and Nikolai A. Bohan of the Mental Health Research Institute, Medical Academy of Sciences of Russia; Hiroki Abe of the Laboratory of Marine Biochemistry, University of Tokyo; and Alexander A. Boldyrev of the M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University in Russia. Funding was provided in part by the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio University. "Natural Compounds Protect Red Blood Cells From Damage." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/02/000225080443.htm>.
Ohio University. (2000, February 25). Natural Compounds Protect Red Blood Cells From Damage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/02/000225080443.htm
Ohio University. "Natural Compounds Protect Red Blood Cells From Damage." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/02/000225080443.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) — The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins