Omics markers of the red cell storage lesion and metabolic linkage

Blood Transfus. 2017 Mar;15(2):137-144. doi: 10.2450/2017.0341-16.


The introduction of omics technologies in the field of Transfusion Medicine has significantly advanced our understanding of the red cell storage lesion. While the clinical relevance of such a lesion is still a matter of debate, quantitative and redox proteomics approaches, as well quantitative metabolic flux analysis and metabolic tracing experiments promise to revolutionise our understanding of the role of blood processing strategies, inform the design and testing of novel additives or technologies (such as pathogen reduction), and evaluate the clinical relevance of donor and recipient biological variability with respect to red cell storability and transfusion outcomes. By reviewing existing literature in this rapidly expanding research endeavour, we highlight for the first time a correlation between metabolic markers of the red cell storage age and protein markers of haemolysis. Finally, we introduce the concept of metabolic linkage, i.e. the appreciation of a network of highly correlated small molecule metabolites which results from biochemical constraints of erythrocyte metabolic enzyme activities. For the foreseeable future, red cell studies will advance Transfusion Medicine and haematology by addressing the alteration of metabolic linkage phenotypes in response to stimuli, including, but not limited to, storage additives, enzymopathies (e.g. glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency), hypoxia, sepsis or haemorrhage.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Blood Preservation / adverse effects*
  • Blood Preservation / methods
  • Erythrocyte Transfusion / adverse effects*
  • Erythrocyte Transfusion / methods
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Metabolome*
  • Metabolomics*


  • Biomarkers