Ageing of Hæmoglobin


THE problem of ageing of protein molecules has been considered by several authors. Kunkel1 in man, Ranney2 in the rabbit, have attempted to demonstrate the ageing of hæmoglobin, taking advantage of the metabolic heterogeneity of hæmoglobins described by us in 19503. They observe, indeed, during the life of the red cells, an equalization of the specific activities of hæmoglobin fractions which were unequal initially. These authors were using iron-59, and it is known that iron is re-utilized after the death of the red cells : this prevents observation of an eventual crossing of the specific activity curves of different fractions in the course of the ageing of the red cells. Therefore they cannot decide between the two following hypotheses : (1) there are metabolic exchanges between the fractions, contrary to the theory of the metabolic inertness of hæmoglobin ; (2) there is ageing of part of the hæmoglobin, which during this process changes its electric charge and becomes concentrated in one of the fractions.

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    Ranney, H. M., and Kono, P., J. Clin. Invest., 38, 508 (1959).

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ROSA, J., DREYFUS, J. & SCHAPIRA, G. Ageing of Hæmoglobin. Nature 188, 753–754 (1960).

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