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Keywords:

  • electrochemistry;
  • haemoglobin;
  • oxygen depletion;
  • protein polymerisation;
  • sickle-cell anemia

Abstract

We describe an electrochemistry-based technique to control and monitor the polymerisation of sickle-cell haemoglobin (HbS). The polymerisation was monitored as a change in turbidity during the depletion of oxygen in a small volume custom-built thin-layer electrochemical cell. The cell allowed the investigation of HbS polymerisation as a function of HbS concentration, temperature and solution pH. We confirm that the oxygen was efficiently depleted using finite-element modelling to accurately recreate the electrochemical thin-layer cell. Understanding the nucleation and growth of HbS polymerisation will provide a better understanding of the pathophysiology of sickle-cell disease in vivo, and thus help improve therapeutic strategies for this common and frequently disabling disorder.