Hemoglobin consumption by P. falciparum in individual erythrocytes imaged via quantitative phase spectroscopy.
ABSTRACT: Plasmodium falciparum infection causes structural and biochemical changes in red blood cells (RBCs). To quantify these changes, we apply a novel optical technique, quantitative phase spectroscopy (QPS) to characterize individual red blood cells (RBCs) during the intraerythrocytic life cycle of P. falciparum. QPS captures hyperspectral holograms of individual RBCs to measure spectroscopic changes across the visible wavelength range (475-700 nm), providing complex information, i.e. amplitude and phase, about the light field which has interacted with the cell. The complex field provides complimentary information on hemoglobin content and cell mass, which are both found to dramatically change upon infection by P. falciparum. Hb content progressively decreases with parasite life cycle, with an average 72.2% reduction observed for RBCs infected by schizont-stage P. falciparum compared to uninfected cells. Infection also resulted in a 33.1% reduction in RBC's optical volume, a measure of the cells' non-aqueous components. Notably, optical volume is only partially correlated with hemoglobin content, suggesting that changes in other dry mass components such as parasite mass may also be assessed using this technique. The unique ability of QPS to discriminate individual healthy and infected cells using spectroscopic changes indicates that the approach can be used to detect disease.
Project description:The functionality and viability of stored human red blood cells (RBCs) is an important clinical issue in transfusions. To systematically investigate changes in stored whole blood, the hematological properties of individual RBCs were quantified in blood samples stored for various periods with and without a preservation solution called citrate phosphate dextrose adenine-1 (CPDA-1). With 3-D quantitative phase imaging techniques, the optical measurements for 3-D refractive index (RI) distributions and membrane fluctuations were done at the individual cell level. From the optical measurements, the morphological (volume, surface area and sphericity), biochemical (hemoglobin content and concentration), and mechanical parameters (dynamic membrane fluctuation) were simultaneously quantified to investigate the functionalities and progressive alterations of stored RBCs. Our results show that stored RBCs without CPDA-1 had a dramatic morphological transformation from discocytes to spherocytes within two weeks which was accompanied by significant decreases in cell deformability and cell surface area, and increases in sphericity. However, the stored RBCs with CPDA-1 maintained their morphology and deformability for up to 6 weeks.
Project description:Red blood cells (RBCs) have highly deformable viscoelastic membranes exhibiting complex rheological response and rich hydrodynamic behavior governed by special elastic and bending properties and by the external/internal fluid and membrane viscosities. We present a multiscale RBC model that is able to predict RBC mechanics, rheology, and dynamics in agreement with experiments. Based on an analytic theory, the modeled membrane properties can be uniquely related to the experimentally established RBC macroscopic properties without any adjustment of parameters. The RBC linear and nonlinear elastic deformations match those obtained in optical-tweezers experiments. The rheological properties of the membrane are compared with those obtained in optical magnetic twisting cytometry, membrane thermal fluctuations, and creep followed by cell recovery. The dynamics of RBCs in shear and Poiseuille flows is tested against experiments and theoretical predictions, and the applicability of the latter is discussed. Our findings clearly indicate that a purely elastic model for the membrane cannot accurately represent the RBC's rheological properties and its dynamics, and therefore accurate modeling of a viscoelastic membrane is necessary.
Project description:Erythroid cells, specifically red blood cells (RBCs), are constantly exposed to highly reactive radicals during cellular gaseous exchange. Such exposure often exceeds the cells' innate anti-oxidant defense systems, leading to progressive damage and eventual senescence. One of the contributing factors to this process are alterations to hemoglobin conformation and globin binding to red cell cytoskeleton. However, in addition to the aforementioned changes, it is possible that oxidative damage induces critical changes to the erythrocyte cytoskeleton and corresponding bio-mechanical and nano-structural properties of the red cell membrane. To quantitatively characterize how oxidative damage accounts for such changes, we employed single-cell manipulation techniques such as micropipette aspiration and atomic force microscopy (AFM) on RBCs. These investigations demonstrated visible morphological changes upon chemically induced oxidative damage (using hydrogen peroxide, diamide, primaquine bisphosphate and cumene hydroperoxide). Our results provide previously unavailable observations on remarkable changes in red cell cytoskeletal architecture and membrane stiffness due to oxidative damage. Furthermore, we also demonstrate that a pathogen that infects human blood cells, Plasmodium falciparum was unable to penetrate through the oxidant-exposed RBCs that have damaged cytoskeleton and stiffer membranes. This indicates the importance of bio-physical factors pertinent to aged RBCs and it's relevance to malaria infectivity.
Project description:Sickle cell trait (AS) confers partial protection against lethal Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Multiple mechanisms for this have been proposed, with a recent focus on aberrant cytoadherence of parasite-infected red blood cells (RBCs). Here we investigate the mechanistic basis of AS protection through detailed temporal mapping. We find that parasites in AS RBCs maintained at low oxygen concentrations stall at a specific stage in the middle of intracellular growth before DNA replication. We demonstrate that polymerization of sickle hemoglobin (HbS) is responsible for this growth arrest of intraerythrocytic P. falciparum parasites, with normal hemoglobin digestion and growth restored in the presence of carbon monoxide, a gaseous antisickling agent. Modeling of growth inhibition and sequestration revealed that HbS polymerization-induced growth inhibition following cytoadherence is the critical driver of the reduced parasite densities observed in malaria infections of individuals with AS. We conclude that the protective effect of AS derives largely from effective sequestration of infected RBCs into the hypoxic microcirculation.
Project description:We study the effect of different chemical moieties on the rigidity of red blood cells (RBCs) induced by Plasmodium falciparum infection, and the bystander effect previously found. The infected cells are obtained from a culture of parasite-infected RBCs grown in the laboratory. The rigidity of RBCs is measured by looking at the Brownian fluctuations of individual cells in an optical-tweezers trap. The results point towards increased intracellular cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels as being responsible for the increase in rigidity.
Project description:Parasitization by malaria-inducing Plasmodium falciparum leads to structural, biochemical, and mechanical modifications to the host red blood cells (RBCs). To study these modifications, we investigate two intrinsic indicators: the refractive index and membrane fluctuations in P. falciparum-invaded human RBCs (Pf-RBCs). We report experimental connections between these intrinsic indicators and pathological states. By employing two noninvasive optical techniques, tomographic phase microscopy and diffraction phase microscopy, we extract three-dimensional maps of refractive index and nanoscale cell membrane fluctuations in isolated RBCs. Our systematic experiments cover all intraerythrocytic stages of parasite development under physiological and febrile temperatures. These findings offer potential, and sufficiently general, avenues for identifying, through cell membrane dynamics, pathological states that cause or accompany human diseases.
Project description:Sickle cell disease (SCD) is caused by a variant hemoglobin molecule that polymerizes inside red blood cells (RBCs) in reduced oxygen tension. Treatment development has been slow for this typically severe disease, but there is current optimism for curative gene transfer strategies to induce expression of fetal hemoglobin or other nonsickling hemoglobin isoforms. All SCD morbidity and mortality arise directly or indirectly from polymer formation in individual RBCs. Identifying patients at highest risk of complications and treatment candidates with the greatest curative potential therefore requires determining the amount of polymer in individual RBCs under controlled oxygen. Here, we report a semiquantitative measurement of hemoglobin polymer in single RBCs as a function of oxygen. The method takes advantage of the reduced oxygen affinity of hemoglobin polymer to infer polymer content for thousands of RBCs from their overall oxygen saturation. The method enables approaches for SCD treatment development and precision medicine.
Project description:PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to validate a newly developed diffuse optical tomography (DOT) system on benign cysts in the breast. PROCEDURES: Eight patients with 20 benign cysts were included. Study procedures consisted of optical breast imaging and breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for comparison. A reconstruction algorithm computed three-dimensional images for each of the four near-infrared wavelengths used by our DOT system (Philips Healthcare, Best, The Netherlands). These images were combined using a spectroscopic model to assess tissue composition and lesion size. RESULTS: Twenty cysts were analyzed in eight patients. By using the spectroscopic information, 13 of 20 cysts (65%) were visualized with DOT, confirming their high water and low total hemoglobin content. Lesion size and location showed good agreement with MRI; Pearson correlation coefficient was 0.7 (p < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: DOT can visualize benign cysts in the breast and elucidate their high water and low total hemoglobin content by spectroscopic analysis.
Project description:We present high-resolution optical tomographic images of human red blood cells (RBC) parasitized by malaria-inducing Plasmodium falciparum (Pf)-RBCs. Three-dimensional (3-D) refractive index (RI) tomograms are reconstructed by recourse to a diffraction algorithm from multiple two-dimensional holograms with various angles of illumination. These 3-D RI tomograms of Pf-RBCs show cellular and subcellular structures of host RBCs and invaded parasites in fine detail. Full asexual intraerythrocytic stages of parasite maturation (ring to trophozoite to schizont stages) are then systematically investigated using optical diffraction tomography algorithms. These analyses provide quantitative information on the structural and chemical characteristics of individual host Pf-RBCs, parasitophorous vacuole, and cytoplasm. The in situ structural evolution and chemical characteristics of subcellular hemozoin crystals are also elucidated.
Project description:Circulating human red blood cells (RBCs) consist of mature erythrocytes, and immature reticulocytes. As being anucleated cells, RBCs lack typical, abundant transcriptomes but are known to contain low amounts of diverse long transcripts and microRNAs. The exact role and importance of these RNAs is, however, lacking. To study this further, we have explored the RNA content of RBCs as well as extracellular vesicles of RBCs using next-generation sequencing (NGS). Furthermore, to understand the dynamics of the RBC transcriptome, we performed single cell RNA sequencing on RBCs both from fresh blood and blood unit. Analysis of the single cell transcriptomes revealed that while the majority of the cells don’t have detectable RNA, the remaining, approximately 10% of the cells fall into three sub-populations based on their RNA content. Overall decrease in the RNA quantity over the populations is observed. Qualitative changes include the differences in the hemoglobin (Hb) content of the cells, and the changes in the expression of ribosomal and mitochondrial genes. A previously unknown transcript of a long non-coding RNA, MALAT1 (Metastasis Associated Lung Adenocarcinoma Transcript 1) is the most enriched marker gene for one subpopulation of RBCs, suggesting a role for MALAT1 in reticulocyte maturation. Enriched pathways in RBC transcriptome, such as autophagy, reflect the processes required for reticulocyte maturation to erythrocytes. RBC transcriptome is transferred to extracellular vesicles (EVs), suggesting the vesiculation as the mechanism to remove the cellular contents at the final stages of erythrocyte maturation. Overall design: RNAseq on 4 red blood cell samples and their extracellular vesicles.