Cryopreservation of red blood cells: Effect on rheologic properties and associated metabolic and nitric oxide related parameters
Bizjak, D.A.; Jungen, P.; Bloch, W.; Grau, M.
Cryobiology 84: 59-68
ISSN/ISBN: 1090-2392 PMID: 30080995 DOI: 10.1016/j.cryobiol.2018.08.001
High glycerol cryopreservation of red blood cells (RBCs) reduces metabolic processes at ultralow temperatures but less is known regarding the effect of cryopreservation on RBC nitric oxide (NO) metabolism, haemorheological properties, structural behaviour and membrane fragility. Blood from ten healthy participants was sampled, glycerolized and stored at -80 °C (SB). Aliquots were thawed and further processed after 4, 8 and 12 weeks, respectively. At these time points, fresh blood (FB) was additionally sampled from each participant. FB/SB mixtures were prepared corresponding to transfusion of 1-3 blood bags. Additionally, mixtures were exposed to shear stress similar to that found in the circulation and deformability was measured to estimate possible behaviour of cryopreserved RBC in vivo. Ageing of RBC was reduced during cryopreservation. Markers for RBC metabolism (ATP, 2,3-DPG) were not altered but RBC sodium levels increased and potassium and calcium decreased, respectively. Mean cellular volume was higher and accordingly, mean cellular haemoglobin concentration was lower in SB. Deformability was altered during storage with less shear stress necessary to deform RBCs. Changes were also detectable in blood mixtures. Deformability remained unaltered in shear stress settings in FB and SB. RBC viscosity was reduced in SB. RBC-NOS content and phosphorylation sites as well as nitrite and RxNO levels seem not to be affected by the intervention. Cryopreservation maintains RBC metabolic function in vitro, but structure and function of cryopreserved RBC seems to be altered. Impact of these alterations in vivo seems to be less but needs further investigation.