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Received April 24, 2018; Revised July 24, 2018; Accepted July 24, 2018
The review discusses pleiotropic effects of erythrocytic hemoglobin (Hb) and their significance for human health. Hemoglobin is mostly known as an oxygen carrier, but its biochemical functions are not limited to this. The following aspects of Hb functioning are examined: (i) catalytic functions of the heme component (nitrite reductase, NO dioxygenase, monooxygenase, alkylhydroperoxidase) and of the apoprotein (esterase, lipoxygenase); (ii) participation in nitric oxide metabolism; (iii) formation of membrane-bound Hb and its role in the regulation of erythrocyte metabolism; (iv) physiological functions of Hb catabolic products (iron, CO, bilirubin, peptides). Special attention is given to Hb participation in signal transduction in erythrocytes. The relationships between various erythrocyte metabolic parameters, such as oxygen status, ATP formation, pH regulation, redox balance, and state of the cytoskeleton are discussed with regard to Hb. Hb polyfunctionality can be considered as a manifestation of the principle of biochemical economy.
KEY WORDS: hemoglobin, erythrocytes, membrane-bound hemoglobin, nitric oxide, capillary blood flow, peroxidase activity, heme