Supernatant protein biomarkers of red blood cell storage hemolysis as determined through an absolute quantification proteomics technology

Transfusion. 2016 Jun;56(6):1329-39. doi: 10.1111/trf.13483. Epub 2016 Jan 26.


Background: Laboratory technologies have highlighted the progressive accumulation of the so-called "storage lesion," a wide series of alterations to stored red blood cells (RBCs) that may affect the safety and effectiveness of the transfusion therapy. New improvements in the field are awaited to ameliorate this lesion, such as the introduction of washing technologies in the cell processing pipeline. Laboratory studies that have tested such technologies so far rely on observational qualitative or semiquantitative techniques.

Study design and methods: A state-of-the-art quantitative proteomics approach utilizing quantitative concatamers (QconCAT) was used to simultaneously monitor fluctuations in the abundance of 114 proteins in AS-3 RBC supernatants (n = 5; 11 time points, including before and after leukoreduction, at 3 hours, on Days 1 and 2, and weekly sampling from Day 7 through Day 42).

Results: Leukoreduction-dependent depletion of plasma proteins was observed at the earliest time points. A subset of proteins showed very high linear correlation (r(2) > 0.9) not only with storage time, but also with absolute levels of hemoglobin α1 and β, a proxy for RBC hemolysis and vesiculation. Linear regression was performed to describe the temporal relationship between these proteins. Our findings suggest a role for supernatant glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; peroxiredoxin-1, -2, and -6; carbonic anhydrase-1 and -2; selenium binding protein-1; biliverdin reductase; aminolevulinate dehydratase; and catalase as potential biomarkers of RBC quality during storage.

Conclusion: A targeted proteomics technology revealed novel biomarkers of the RBC storage lesion and promises to become a key analytical readout for the development and testing of alternative cell processing strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Blood Preservation / adverse effects*
  • Blood Proteins / analysis
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism*
  • Erythrocytes / pathology*
  • Hemolysis*
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Reduction Procedures
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Time Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Proteins