Effects of methylene blue-treated plasma on red cells and stored platelet concentrates

Transfusion. 1999 Jan;39(1):63-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1537-2995.1999.39199116896.x.


Background: Photochemical methods can effectively inactivate extracellular viruses and bacteria found in blood components. Treatment of plasma with methylene blue (MB), a phenothiazine dye, and visible light inactivates enveloped viruses including HIV-1. The effects of MB-treated plasma on cellular components stored in vitro have not been well characterized.

Study design and methods: MB-treated plasma (83 microg MB/250 mL plasma) was added to single-donor platelets, stored AS-1 red cells (RBCs), irradiated RBCs, and frozen-deglycerolized RBCs. In vitro platelet assays performed after 1 and 5 days of storage in MB-treated plasma included pH, pO2, pCO2, HCO3, platelet number, lactate dehydrogenase, glucose, osmotic recovery, and CD62 expression. RBC components were examined at specific intervals for leakage of potassium, plasma hemoglobin level, and percentage of hemolysis. Direct antiglobulin tests, osmotic fragilities, and RBC antigen stability tests were also performed on RBCs stored in MB-treated plasma. Components stored with autologous plasma or nontreated allogeneic plasma served as controls.

Results: Similar storage-induced changes in pH, glucose, and platelet numbers, as well as increases in lactate dehydrogenase, CD62 expression, and lactate were seen in single-donor platelets stored with MB-treated and control plasma. Platelet morphology scores and osmotic recoveries were not altered. Plasma hemoglobin and potassium and percentage of hemolysis increased equally in the various RBC components stored with MB-treated or nontreated plasma. Osmotic fragility and RBC antigen stability were not appreciably altered by MB-treated plasma.

Conclusion: Plasma treated by MB photoinactivation can be used for in vitro resuspension and storage of platelets or RBCs, because of the lack of influence of MB-treated plasma on a variety of in vitro platelet and RBC assays.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Platelets / drug effects*
  • Blood Platelets / microbiology
  • Blood Platelets / virology
  • Blood Preservation
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects*
  • Erythrocytes / microbiology
  • Erythrocytes / virology
  • Humans
  • Indicators and Reagents / pharmacology
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / blood
  • Methylene Blue / pharmacology*
  • Plasma / drug effects*
  • Potassium / blood
  • Time Factors


  • Indicators and Reagents
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • Potassium
  • Methylene Blue