The stabilizing effect of an oligomeric proanthocyanidin on red blood cell membrane structure of poorly controlled Type II diabetes

Visser, J. ; Van Staden, P. J. ; Soma, P. ; Buys, A. V. ; Pretorius, E. (2017)

CITATION: Visser, J., et al. 2017. The stabilizing effect of an oligomeric proanthocyanidin on red blood cell membrane structure of poorly controlled Type II diabetes. Nutrition & Diabetes, 7:e275, doi:10.1038/nutd.2017.25.

The original publication is available at https://www.nature.com/nutd/journal/v7/n5/

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.

Article

Type II diabetes (T2D) is a pandemic characterized by pathological circulating inflammatory markers, high-glucose levels and oxidative stress. The hematological system is especially vulnerable to these aberrant circulating molecules, and erythrocytes (RBCs) show aberrant rheology properties, owing to the direct contact with these molecules. Pathological levels of circulating inflammatory markers in T2D therefore have a direct effect on the molecular and cellular structure of RBCs. Previous research has suggested that antioxidants may reduce oxidative stress that results from the pathological inflammatory markers. Particularly, polyphenol antioxidants like oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) may act as a hydroxyl mopping agent, and may have a positive effect on the deformability and membrane protein structure of RBCs from T2D. In this paper, we look at the effect of one such agent, Pinus massoniana bark extract (standardized to 95% oligomeric proanthicyanidins), on the RBC membrane structures and RBC shape changes of T2D, after laboratory exposure at physiological levels. Our methods of choice were atomic force microscopy and scanning electron microscopy to study RBC elasticity and ultrastructure. Results showed that in our hands, this OPC could change both the eryptotic nature of the RBCs, as viewed with scanning electron microscopy, as well as the elasticity. We found a significant difference in variation between the elasticity measurement values between the RBCs before and after OPC exposure (P-value <0.0001). In conclusion, the data from both these techniques therefore suggest that OPC usage might contribute to the improvement of RBC functioning.

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