WFU Department of Physics Wake Forest University


Wake Forest Physics
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WFU Physics Colloquium

TITLE: Nitric Oxide Scavenging by Hemoglobin in Health, Disease, and Therapeutics

SPEAKER: Professor Daniel Kim-Shapiro,

Harbert Family Distinguished Chair,
Department of Physics,
Wake Forest University

TIME: Thursday Sept. 25, 2008 at 4:00 PM

PLACE: Room 101 in Olin Physical Laboratory

Refreshments will be served at 3:30 PM in the Olin Lounge. All interested persons are cordially invited to attend.


Nitric oxide (NO) is the endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF). It is made in endothelial cells lining blood vessels and diffuses to smooth muscle cells where it leads to muscle relaxation, vessel dilatation, and increased blood flow and also plays a large role in controlling platelet aggregation and inflammation. Hemoglobin (Hb), the oxygen carrying molecule in the blood, reacts at nearly diffusion limited rates with nitric oxide to (in some reactions) form nitrate and thereby destroys NO activity. The presence of such large amounts of such a potent NO scavenger in the blood challenges the idea that NO is indeed the EDRF.

Encapsulation in red blood cells in healthy individuals limits NO scavenging by Hb. Biophysical experiments will be described exploring and evaluating these mechanisms. Other studies will be described discussing how red cells break open (lyse) in pathological situations and the cell-free Hb reduces NO bioavailability. Finally, methods to restore NO bioavailability through therapeutics will be discussed.

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100 Olin Physical Laboratory
Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, NC 27109-7507
Phone: (336) 758-5337, FAX: (336) 758-6142