Hemoglobin vesicles (HbVs) are oxygen carriers consisting of Hb molecules and liposome in which human hemoglobin (Hb) molecules are encapsulated. Investigations of HbV biocompatibility have shown that HbVs have no significant effect on either the quality or quantity of blood components such as RBC, WBC, platelets, complements, or coagulation factors, reflecting its excellent biocompatibility. However, their effects on the immune system remain to be evaluated. HbVs might affect the function of macrophages because they accumulate in the reticuloendothelial system. Results show that splenic T cell proliferation is suppressed after injection of not only HbV but also empty liposome into rat, and show that macrophages that internalized liposomal particles are responsible for the suppression. However, the effect is transient. Antibody production is entirely unaffected. Further investigation revealed that those macrophages were similar to myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in terms of morphology, cell surface markers, and the immune-suppression mechanism. Considering that MDSCs appear in various pathological conditions, the appearance of MDSC-like cells might reflect the physiological immune system response against the substantial burden of liposomal microparticles. Therefore, despite the possible induction of immunosuppressive cells, HbVs are an acceptable and promising candidate for use as a blood substitute in a clinical setting.
Azuma, H., Fujihara, M., & Sakai, H. (2017). Biocompatibility of HbV: Liposome-Encapsulated Hemoglobin Molecules-Liposome Effects on Immune Function. Journal of Functional Biomaterials, 8(3), 24. https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb8030024