Metabolic effect of alkaline additives and guanosine/gluconate in storage solutions for red blood cells

Transfusion. 2018 Aug;58(8):1992-2002. doi: 10.1111/trf.14620. Epub 2018 Apr 6.


Background: Over a century of advancements in the field of additive solutions for red blood cell (RBC) storage has made transfusion therapy a safe and effective practice for millions of recipients worldwide. Still, storage in the blood bank results in the progressive accumulation of metabolic alterations, a phenomenon that is mitigated by storage in novel storage additives, such as alkaline additive solutions. While novel alkaline additive formulations have been proposed, no metabolomics characterization has been performed to date.

Study design and methods: We performed UHPLC-MS metabolomics analyses of red blood cells stored in SAGM (standard additive in Europe), (PAGGSM), or alkaline additives SOLX, E-SOL 5 and PAG3M for either 1, 21, 35 (end of shelf-life in the Netherlands), or 56 days.

Results: Alkaline additives (especially PAG3M) better preserved 2,3-diphosphoglycerate and adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Deaminated purines such as hypoxanthine were predictive of hemolysis and morphological alterations. Guanosine supplementation in PAGGSM and PAG3M fueled ATP generation by feeding into the nonoxidative pentose phosphate pathway via phosphoribolysis. Decreased urate to hypoxanthine ratios were observed in alkaline additives, suggestive of decreased generation of urate and hydrogen peroxide. Despite the many benefits observed in purine and redox metabolism, alkaline additives did not prevent accumulation of free fatty acids and oxidized byproducts, opening a window for future alkaline formulations including (lipophilic) antioxidants.

Conclusion: Alkalinization via different strategies (replacement of chloride anions with either high bicarbonate, high citrate/phosphate, or membrane impermeant gluconate) results in different metabolic outcomes, which are superior to current canonical additives in all cases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antacids / metabolism
  • Antacids / pharmacology*
  • Blood Preservation / methods*
  • Erythrocytes / cytology*
  • Gluconates / metabolism
  • Gluconates / pharmacology*
  • Guanosine / metabolism
  • Guanosine / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Purines / metabolism
  • Solutions


  • Antacids
  • Gluconates
  • Purines
  • Solutions
  • Guanosine
  • purine