Erythrocyte consumption of nitric oxide in presence and absence of plasma-based hemoglobin

Nikolaos M. Tsoukias, Aleksander S. Popel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Experimental measurements have suggested a consumption rate of nitric oxide (NO) by red blood cells (RBCs) that is orders of magnitude smaller than that of an equivalent concentration of free hemoglobin in solution. This difference has been attributed to external diffusion limitations in the transport of NO from the plasma to the surface of the RBC or to resistance in the transport through the erythrocytic membrane. A detailed mathematical model is developed to quantify the resistance to NO transport around a single RBC and to predict the consumption rate in the presence and absence of extracellular hemoglobin. We provide a description for the NO consumption rate as a function of hematocrit, RBC radius, membrane permeability, and extracellular hemoglobin concentration. We predict a first-order rate constant for NO consumption in blood between 7.5 × 102 and 6.5 × 103 s-1 at a hematocrit of 45% for membrane permeability values between 0.1 and 40 cm/s. Our results suggest that the difference in NO uptake by RBCs and free hemoglobin is smaller than previously reported and it is hematocrit dependent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H2265-H2277
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6 51-6
StatePublished - 2002


  • Blood substitutes
  • Diffusion
  • Reaction
  • Red blood cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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