Carbon Monoxide (CO), at low concentrations, can have a variety of positive effects on the body including anti-apoptosis, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and anti-proliferative effects. Although CO has great potential for use as a potent medical bioactive gas, for it to exist in the body in stable form, it must be associated with a carrier. Hemoglobin (Hb) represents a promising material for use as a CO carrier because most of the total CO in the body is stored associated with Hb in red blood cells (RBC). Attempts have been made to develop an Hb-based CO carrying system using RBC and Hb-based artificial oxygen carriers. Some of these have been reported to be safe and to have therapeutic value as a CO donor in preclinical and clinical studies. In the present review, we overview the potential of RBC and Hb-based artificial oxygen carriers as CO carriers based on the currently available literature evidence for their use in pharmaceutical therapy against intractable dis-orders.
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