Ouabain Binding to Rabbit Erythrocytes
Peck, Bruce F., II
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Ouabain is a digitalizating cardiac glycoside. Digitalis is a drug that is administered to patients with congestive heart failure. The net effect of these cardiac glycosides are (1) a more complete systolic emptying decreasing the over all heart size, (2) a reduction in the venous blood pressure and (3) a decreasing in the rate of heart contractions. Cardiac glycosides however can build up to toxic levels in these hearts patients. Currently' there are no tests to measure cardiac glycoside build up. Cardiac glycosides not only complex or bind t.o myocardial tissue but they also complex with erythrocyte membranes. Ideally, if a relationship between ouabain binding to erythrocyte membrane and binding to heart membranes could be established an optimal dosage, of the drug could be determined for each heart patient through a simple blood test. The relation between ouabain binding to heart membranes and erythrocyte membranes was begun on human erythrocytes. Because of the impracticability of research on human heart membranes, rabbits were used. Since the basic work of ouabain binding had been done on human erythrocytes and ouabain binding to heart membranes was to be done on rabbits, a study on the effect of ouabain binding had to be done on rabbit erythrocytes. The results of this study point out many inconsistances between the human ouabain binding system and the rabbit. Comparisons between the results of the rabbit research can not be applied to humans.