|| DukeMedNews || Nitric Oxide Found to Control Oxygen Delivery to Tissues

Today on the Newsline: Dr. Jonathan Stamler talks about his research, published in the June 27 issue of the journal Science.

Background: Stamler and his colleagues at Duke University Medical Center shook up conventional views of how blood delivers oxygen last year when they discovered hemoglobin also distributes nitric oxide. Now they have put the pieces of the oxygen-delivery puzzle back together by solving three apparent paradoxes that have left scientists perplexed for years.

The researchers report that hemoglobin is an exquisitely tuned biosensor that adjusts blood flow to provide exactly the right amount of oxygen to tissues and organs.

In Cut 1, Stamler says most doctors believe blood flow is regulated by the expansion or contraction of the blood vessels themselves. But they’ve shown that hemoglobin in the blood itself can sense how much oxygen a tissue needs and change blood flow to meet that need.

Cut 1…carry the oxygen…:16
(Preview this in a AIFF or WAV file in 8 bit mono. For the full interview in high quality ISDN sound, call the newsline.)

Stamler says he thinks the findings may open up a whole new avenue of treatment for diseases such as stroke and heart attacks, in which blocked blood vessels are deprived of oxygen, or tissue injury after balloon angioplasty, in which reopened arteries can get too much oxygen too quickly.

Cut 2…sorts of diseases…:16
(Preview this in a AIFF or WAV file in 8 bit mono. For the full interview in high quality ISDN sound, call the newsline.)

In addition, the findings have implications for treatment of sickle cell disease, lung injury and development of effective blood substitutes, the researchers say. For example, the current generation of blood substitutes behave as though the tissue is getting too much oxygen, and actually decrease oxygen delivery to tissues to compensate. A thorough understanding of how blood senses oxygen content in tissues could help researchers design more effective substitutes.