Saturday, April 6, 2013

Novel single-cell functional analysis of red blood cells using laser tweezers raman spectroscopy: application for sickle cell disease

Rui Liu, Ziliang Mao, Dennis L. Matthews, Chin-Shang Li, James W. Chan, Noriko Satake
Laser tweezers Raman spectroscopy was used to characterize the oxygenation response of single normal adult, sickle, and cord blood red blood cells (RBCs) to an applied mechanical force. Individual cells were subjected to different forces by varying the laser power of a single-beam optical trap, and the intensities of several oxygenation-specific Raman spectral peaks were monitored to determine the oxygenation state of the cells. For all three cell types, an increase in laser power (or mechanical force) induced a greater deoxygenation of the cell. However, sickle RBCs deoxygenated more readily than normal RBCs when subjected to the same optical forces. Conversely, cord blood RBCs were able to maintain their oxygenation better than normal RBCs. These results suggest that differences in the chemical or mechanical properties of fetal, normal, and sickle cells affect the degree to which applied mechanical forces can deoxygenate the cell. Populations of normal, sickle, and cord RBCs were identified and discriminated based on this mechanochemical phenomenon. This study demonstrates the potential application of laser tweezers Raman spectroscopy as a single-cell, label-free analytical tool to characterize the functional (e.g., mechanical deformability, oxygen binding) properties of normal and diseased RBCs.
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