Hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers (HBOCs) were developed with the aim of substituting transfusions in emergency events. However, they exhibit adverse events, such as nitric oxide (NO) scavenging, vasoactivity, enhanced platelet aggregation, presently hampering their clinical application. The impact of two prototypical PEGylated HBOCs, Euro-PEG-Hb and PEG-HbO2, endowed by different oxygen affinities and hydrodynamic volumes, was assessed on the cerebrocortical parenchymal microhemodynamics, and extravasation through the blood-brain-barrier (BBB) by laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI) method and near-infrared (NIR) imaging, respectively. By evaluating voxel-wise cerebrocortical red blood cell velocity, non-invasively for its mean kernel-wise value (vRBC), and model-derived kernel-wise predictions for microregional tissue hematocrit, THt, and fractional change in hematocrit-corrected vascular resistance, R', as measures of potential adverse effects (enhanced platelet aggregation and vasoactivity, respectively) we found i) no significant difference between tested HBOCs in the systemic and microregional parameters, and in the relative spatial dispersion of THt, and R' as additional measures of HBOC-related adverse effects, and ii) no extravasation through BBB by Euro-PEG-Hb. We conclude that Euro-PEG-Hb does not exhibit adverse effects in the brain microcirculation that could be directly attributed to NO scavenging.
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