Cellular normoxic biophysical markers of hydroxyurea treatment in sickle cell disease

Poorya Hosseini, Sabia Z. Abidi, E. Du, Dimitrios P. Papageorgiou, Youngwoon Choi, Yongkeun Park, John M. Higgins, Gregory J. Kato, Subra Suresh, Ming Dao, Zahid Yaqoob, Peter T.C. So

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Hydroxyurea (HU) has been used clinically to reduce the frequency of painful crisis and the need for blood transfusion in sickle cell disease (SCD) patients. However, the mechanisms underlying such beneficial effects of HU treatment are still not fully understood. Studies have indicated a weak correlation between clinical outcome and molecular markers, and the scientific quest to develop companion biophysical markers have mostly targeted studies of blood properties under hypoxia. Using a common-path interferometric technique, we measure biomechanical and morphological properties of individual red blood cells in SCD patients as a function of cell density, and investigate the correlation of these biophysical properties with drug intake as well as other clinically measured parameters. Our results show that patient-specific HU effects on the cellular biophysical properties are detectable at normoxia, and that these properties are strongly correlated with the clinically measured mean cellular volume rather than fetal hemoglobin level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9527-9532
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number34
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Aug 23

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants 1R01HL121386-01A1, 9P41EB015871-26A1, 5R01NS051320, 5U01HL114476, and 4R44EB012415; National Science Foundation Grant CBET-0939511; Hamamatsu Corporation; Singapore-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Center, BioSystems and Micromechanics (BioSyM) and Infectious Diseases (ID); MIT SkolTech Initiative; and Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research Bridge Project Initiative.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


  • Biomarkers
  • Cell deformability
  • Cell volume
  • Cellular properties
  • Sickle cell anemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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