Sustained maternal smoking-associated changes in the physico-chemical properties of fetal RBC membranes might serve as early markers for vascular comorbidities

Gábor Balogh, Payal Chakraborty, Krisztina N. Dugmonits, Mária Péter, Attila G. Végh, László Vígh, Edit Hermesz

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Maternal smoking-induced congenital heart and microvascular defects are closely associated with the impaired functioning of the in-utero feto-placental circulation system. Current groundbreaking facts revealed intimate crosstalk between circulating red blood cells (RBCs) and the vascular endothelium. Thus, RBCs have become the protagonists under varied pathological and adverse pro-oxidative cellular stress conditions. We isolated and screened fetal RBCs from the arterial cord blood of neonates, born to non-smoking (RBC-NS) and smoking mothers (RBC-S), assuming that parameters of fetal RBCs are blueprints of conditions experienced in-utero. Using atomic force microscopy and mass spectrometry-based shotgun lipidomics in the RBC-S population we revealed induced membrane stiffness, loss in intrinsic plastic activities and several abnormalities in their membrane-lipid composition, that could consequently result in perturbed hemodynamic flow movements. Altogether, these features are indicative of the outcome of neonatal microvascular complications and suggest unavailability for the potential rescue mechanism in cases of vascular endothelium impairment due to altered membrane integrity and rheological properties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number158615
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020



  • Deformability
  • Fetal RBC
  • Lipid
  • Membrane damage
  • Peroxynitrite
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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