Treatment of blood loss with plasma expanders lowers blood viscosity, increasing cardiac output. However, increased flow velocity by conventional plasma expanders does not compensate for decreased viscosity in maintaining vessel wall shear stress (WSS), decreasing endothelial nitric oxide (NO) production. A new type of plasma expander using polyethylene glycol conjugate albumin (PEG-Alb) causes supra-perfusion when used in extreme hemodilution and is effective in treating hemorrhagic shock, although it is minimally viscogenic. An acute 40% hemodilution/exchange-transfusion protocol was used to compare 4% PEG-Alb to Ringer's lactate, Dextran 70 kDa and 6% Hetastarch (670 kDa) in unanesthetized CD-1 mice. Serum cytokine analysis showed that PEG-Alb elevates monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1), a member of a small inducible gene family, as well as expression of MIP-1α, and MIP-2. MCP-1 is specific to increased WSS. Given the direct link between increased WSS and production of NO, the beneficial resuscitation effects due to PEG-Alb plasma expansion appear to be due to increased WSS through increased perfusion and blood flow rather than blood viscosity.
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