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Changes in Dry State Hemoglobin Over Time Do Not Increase the Potential for Oxidative Damage in Dried Blood

NCJ Number
PLoS ONE Volume: 4 Issue: 4 Dated: 2009 Pages: e5110
Date Published
April 2009
10 pages
This research project sought to understand the nature of the oxidative systems potentially available to degrade DNA in the presence of dried hemoglobin (Hb) by determining what molecular species Hb forms over time, since these species will determine what type of iron (i.e. Fe2+/Fe3+/Fe4+) is available to participate in further chemical reactions.

Hemoglobin (Hb) is the iron-containing oxygen transport protein present in the red blood cells of vertebrates. Ancient DNA and forensic scientists are particularly interested in Hb reactions in the dry state, because both regularly encounter aged, dried bloodstains. The DNA in such stains may be oxidatively damaged and, in theory, may be deteriorated by the presence of Hb. The current study determined that oxygenated Hb (oxyHb) converts over time to oxidized Hb (metHb), but this happens more quickly in the dry state than in the hydrated state, as shown by monitoring stabilized oxyHb. In addition, dry state oxyHb converts into at least one other unknown species other than metHb. Although "free" iron was detectable as both Fe2+ and Fe3+ in dry and hydrated oxyHb and metHb, the amount of ions detected did not increase over time. There was no evidence that Hb becomes more prone to generating OH as it ages in either the hydrated or dry states. The study concludes that The Hb molecule in the dried state undergoes oxidative changes and releases reactive Fe(II) cations. These changes, however, do not appear to increase the ability of Hb to act as a more aggressive Fenton reagent over time. Nevertheless, the presence of Hb in the vicinity of DNA in dried bloodstains creates the opportunity for OH-induced oxidative damage to the deoxyribose sugar and the DNA nucleobases. 7 figures, 1 table, and 43 references (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: April 1, 2009