Chlorine inhalation induces acute chest syndrome in humanized sickle cell mouse model and ameliorated by postexposure hemopexin

Academic Article


  • Triggering factors of Acute Chest Syndrome (ACS) is a leading cause of death in patients with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) and targeted therapies are limited. Chlorine (Cl2) inhalation happens frequently, but its role as a potential trigger of ACS has not been determined. In this study, we hypothesized that Cl2 exposure resembling that in the vicinity of industrial accidents induces acute hemolysis with acute lung injury, reminiscent of ACS in humanized SCD mice. When exposed to Cl2 (500 ppm for 30 min), 64% of SCD mice succumbed within 6 h while none of the control mice expressing normal human hemoglobin died (p<0.01). Surviving SCD mice had evidence of acute hemolysis, respiratory acidosis, acute lung injury, and high concentrations of chlorinated palmitic and stearic acids (p<0.05) in their plasmas and RBCs compared to controls. Treatment with a single intraperitoneal dose of human hemopexin 30 min after Cl2 inhalation reduced mortality to around 15% (p<0.01) with reduced hemolysis (decreased RBCs fragility (p<0.001) and returned plasma heme to normal levels (p<0.0001)), improved oxygenation (p<0.0001) and reduced acute lung injury scores (p<0.0001). RBCs from SCD mice had significant levels of carbonylation (which predisposes RBCs to hemolysis) 6 h post-Cl2 exposure which were absent in RBCs of mice treated with hemopexin. To understand the mechanisms leading to carbonylation, we incubated RBCs from SCD mice with chlorinated lipids and identified sickling and increased hemolysis compared to RBCs obtained from control mice and treated similarly. Our study indicates that Cl2 inhalation induces ACS in SCD mice via induction of acute hemolysis, and that post exposure administration of hemopexin reduces mortality and lung injury. Our data suggest that SCD patients are vulnerable in Cl2 exposure incidents and that hemopexin is a potential therapeutic agent.
  • Published In

  • Redox Biology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 14734315
  • Author List

  • Alishlash AS; Sapkota M; Ahmad I; Maclin K; Ahmed NA; Molyvdas A; Doran S; Albert CJ; Aggarwal S; Ford DA
  • Volume

  • 44