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Blood Transfus. 2016 May;14(2):238-44. doi: 10.2450/2015.0055-15. Epub 2015 Oct 29.

Blood banking-induced alteration of red blood cell oxygen release ability.

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Key Laboratory of Biorheological Science and Technology, Ministry of Education, College of Bioengineering, Chongqing University, Chongqing, China.



Current blood banking procedures may not fully preserve red blood cell (RBC) function during storage, contributing to the decrease of RBC oxygen release ability. This study was undertaken to evaluate the impact of routine cold storage on RBC oxygen release ability.


RBC units were collected from healthy donors and each unit was split into two parts (whole blood and suspended RBC) to exclude possible donor variability. Oxygen dissociation measurements were performed on blood units stored at 4 °C during a 5-week period. 2,3-diphosphoglycerate levels and fluorescent micrographs of erythrocyte band 3 were also analysed.


P50 and oxygen release capacity decreased rapidly during the first 3 weeks, and then did not change significantly. In contrast, the kinetic properties (PO2-t curve and T*50) of oxygen release changed slowly during the first 3 weeks of storage, but then decreased significantly in the last 2 weeks. 2,3-diphosphoglycerate decreased quickly during the first 3 weeks of storage to almost undetectable levels. Band 3 aggregated significantly during the last 2 weeks of storage.


RBC oxygen release ability appears to be sensitive to routine cold storage. The thermodynamic characteristics of RBC oxygen release ability changed mainly in the first 3 weeks of storage, due to the decrease of 2,3-diphosphoglycerate, whereas the kinetic characteristics of RBC oxygen release ability decreased significantly at the end of storage, probably affected by alterations of band 3.

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