10.1002/bit.260350811.abs Complex coacervation is a phenomenon of phase separation that may occur in a solution of positively and negatively charged polyions. The resulting two phases are distinguished by the total concentration of both polyions, with the concentrated phase often containing vesicular structures composed of the two polyelectrolytes. We have used this phenomenon in an attempt to‐prepare a hemoglobin‐based red blood cell analog. Hemoglobin‐containing coacervate vesicles have been prepared from gelatin A and the polyanionic carbohydrates acacia, pectin, or dextranstilfate. Hemoglobin seems to be anchored into the vesicle walls through interaction of its polyanion binding site with the negatively charged residues on the carbohydrates. Oxygen binding by the immobilized HbA is reversible and cooperative, with p50 values at 20°C of 2.8, 6, and 24 mm Hg for the acacia‐ (pH 7.5), pectin‐ (pH 6.6), and dextransulfate‐(pH 6.6) derived coacervates. Kinetic studies on CO binding show that the rate of CO uptake by the coacervates (t½ = 13–27 ms at 0.5 mM CO) is similar to that of human erythrocytes. The HbA‐containing coacervates slowly dissolve in isotonic salt solutions (145 mM NaCl, pH 7.4), but they can be stabilized by treatment with glutaraldehyde. Oxygen binding by HbA incorporated into the stabilized coacervates derived from dextran sulfate is very similar to oxy gen binding by human red blood cells: p50 = 26 mm Hg and n = 1.89 at 37°C in isotonic salt. These results show how a novel approach, based on an old concept, has led to the preparation of immobilized HbA, with functional properties similar to those of intraerythrocytic HbA.
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