Temperature cycling improves in vivo recovery of cold-stored human platelets in a mouse model of transfusion

Transfusion. 2013 Jun;53(6):1178-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2012.03896.x. Epub 2012 Sep 24.


Background: Platelet (PLT) storage at room temperature (RT) is limited to 5 days to prevent growth of bacteria, if present, to high levels. Storage in cold temperatures would reduce bacterial proliferation, but cold-exposed PLTs are rapidly cleared from circulation by the hepatic Ashwell-Morell (AM) receptor, which recognizes PLT surface carbohydrates terminated by β-galactose. We cycled storage temperature between 4 and 37°C to preserve PLT function and reduce bacterial growth.

Study design and methods: Temperature-cycled (TC) human PLTs were stored at 4°C for 12 hours and then incubated at 37°C for 30 minutes before returning back to cold storage. PLTs stored at RT or at 4°C (COLD) or TC for 2, 5, and 7 days were infused into SCID mice and the in vivo recovery was determined at 5, 20, and 60 minutes after transfusion.

Results: PLTs stored for 2 days in COLD had significantly lower in vivo recoveries than RT PLTs. TC PLTs had improved recoveries over COLD and comparable to RT PLTs. After 5- and 7-day storage, TC PLTs had better recoveries than RT and COLD PLTs. PLT surface β-galactose was increased significantly for both COLD and TC PLTs compared to RT. Blocking of the AM receptor by asialofetuin increased COLD but not TC PLT recovery.

Conclusion: TC cold storage may be an effective method to store PLTs without loss of in vivo recovery. The increased β-galactose exposure in TC PLTs suggests that mechanisms in addition to AM receptors may mediate clearance of cold-stored PLTs.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Bacterial Infections / prevention & control
  • Blood Banks / methods*
  • Blood Platelets / cytology*
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism
  • Blood Platelets / microbiology
  • Blood Safety
  • Cell Survival
  • Cryopreservation*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluoresceins
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Platelet Membrane Glycoprotein IIb / metabolism
  • Platelet Transfusion / methods*
  • Temperature*


  • Fluoresceins
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Platelet Membrane Glycoprotein IIb
  • 5-chloromethylfluorescein