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Vox Sang. 2004 Apr;86(3):189-97.

The impact of different intensities of regular donor plasmapheresis on humoral and cellular immunity, red cell and iron metabolism, and cardiovascular risk markers.

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Institute of Hemostaseology and Transfusion Medicine, Academic City Hospital, Ludwigshafen, Germany.



Major studies are still lacking on the impact of differing intensities of long-term donor plasmapheresis, not only on total serum protein, albumin and immunoglobulin G (IgG), but also on humoral and cellular immunity, red cell and iron metabolism, and biochemical cardiovascular risk markers.


Three groups of donors, comprising 483 individuals undergoing differing intensities of long-term serial plasmapheresis, were entered into a cross-sectional study. A fourth control group consisted of 100 non-donors. In addition to measuring total protein, albumin and IgG levels, we determined parameters of humoral and cellular immunity, red cell and iron metabolism and recognized biochemical cardiovascular risk factors.


The median annual net amount of plasma donated by the three donor groups was 37, 16 and 10 l, respectively (P < 0.0001). Donors had significantly lower total serum protein, albumin and IgG levels than non-donors (P < 0.0001), but the intensity of plasmapheresis had no influence on those parameters. Like non-donors, all plasma donors had normal humoral and cellular immunity. No increased rates of iron store depletion were observed in the three groups of plasma donors. Plasma donors were not at increased cardiovascular risk.


Regular donor plasmapheresis of up to 45 l of plasma per year appears to be as safe as more moderate plasmapheresis programmes, with respect to the parameters analysed in this study. Individuals donating under these conditions did not develop impaired humoral and cellular immunity, iron store depletion, or increased cardiovascular risk with regard to established biochemical risk markers. Prospective studies are required to determine more exactly than in retrospective analyses the reasons why donors withdraw from plasmapheresis programmes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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