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Transfusion. 2008 Jan;48(1):136-46. Epub 2007 Sep 27.

Blood banking-induced alteration of red blood cell flow properties.

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Blood Bank, Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel.



Blood banking procedures are associated with damage to red blood cell (RBC) membranes, which can impair their flow properties, namely, their deformability, aggregability, and adherence to endothelial cells (ECs) and thus possibly introducing a circulatory risk to recipients. This study was undertaken to comprehensively explore the effect of cold storage and gamma irradiation on RBC flow properties.


RBC flow properties were monitored as a function of shear stress with a computerized cell flow properties analyzer. Because we had previously studied storage effect on RBC aggregability (Transfusion 1999;39:277-81), here we determined the storage effect on RBC adherence and deformability, by measuring them before (control) and during storage. Gamma irradiation effect on RBC aggregability, adherence, and deformability was determined before (control) and after irradiation.


Cold storage significantly elevated the number of adherent RBCs and the strength of their interaction with ECs, and was marked by decreased RBC deformability as early as 2 weeks into the storage period. The elevation of RBC-EC interaction was well correlated with translocation of phosphatidylserine to the RBC surface. Gamma irradiation induced an immediate and marked increase in the number of rigid cells, but did not affect RBC adherence and aggregability.


RBC flow properties appear to be especially sensitive to cold storage and gamma irradiation because they are impaired long before the expiration date. Because impaired RBC flow properties facilitate circulatory disorders, the potential circulatory risk of transfusion RBC with blood banking-impaired rheology should be considered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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