Synthesis and biophysical properties of polymerized human serum albumin



The use of many plasma expanders (PEs) is often limited by undesirable side effects, such as red blood cell (RBC) aggregation (hydroxyethyl starch), nephrotoxicity (dextran), and extravasation (albumin). Despite its natural prevalence in the bloodstream, human serum albumin (HSA) can increase the risk of mortality when administered to patients with increased vascular permeability (i.e., patients suffering from burns, septic shock, and endothelial dysfunction). The harmful extravasation of HSA can be limited by polymerizing HSA to increase its molecular size. In this study, HSA was nonspecifically cross-linked with glutaraldehyde at different cross-link densities by varying the molar ratio of glutaraldehyde to HSA. The results of this study show that the weight-averaged molecular weight (MW), viscosity, and extent of RBC aggregation of polymerized HSA increases with increasing cross-link density, whereas the colloid osmotic pressure (COP) decreases with increasing cross-link density. Interestingly, circular dichroism measurements indicate that the secondary structure of HSA is unaffected by polymerization. Altogether, these results show that glutaraldehyde can effectively cross-link HSA to produce high MW polymers, yielding a novel series of potential PEs that exhibit low COP and high viscosity. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2011