Cellular properties of human erythrocytes preserved in saline-adenine- glucose-mannitol in the presence of L-carnitine

Arduino Arduini, Giampaolo Minetti, Annarita Ciana, Claudio Seppi, Augusta Brovelli, Antonella Profumo, Cristina Vercellati, Manuela Zappa, Alberto Zanella, Secondo Dottori, Mario Bonomini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


L-Carnitine (LC) in the preservation medium during storage of red blood cells (RBC) can improve the mean 24-hr percent recovery in vivo and increase RBC life-span after reinfusion. The purpose of the study was to investigate the differences in the biochemical properties of RBCs stored in the presence or absence of LC, and the cell-age related responses to storage conditions and to LC. RBC concentrates in saline-adenine-glucose-mannitol (SAG-M) were stored in the presence or absence of 5 mM LC at 4°C for up to 8 weeks. RBC subpopulations of different densities were prepared by centrifugation on Stractan density gradient. Cells were sampled at 0, 3, 6, and 8 weeks, and hematological and cellular properties analyzed (MCV, MCHC, 4.1 a/4.1 b ratio as a cell age parameter, intracellular Na+and K+). After 6 weeks, MCV of RBC stored in the presence of LC was lower than that of controls (6 weeks MCV: controls 95.4 ± 1.8 fl; LC 91.5 ± 2.0 fl; n = 6; P <0.005). This was due to swelling of control cells, and affected mainly older RBCs. LC appeared to reduce or retard cell swelling. Among the osmotically active substances whose changes during storage could contribute to cell swelling, only intracellular Na+ and K+ differed between stored control RBCs and LC-treated cells. LC reduces the swelling of older cells during storage at 4°C in SAG-M, possibly by acting on the permeability of cell membrane to monovalent cations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Hematology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007


  • Cell age
  • Cell density
  • L-carnitine
  • Monovalent cations
  • Protein 4.1 a/b
  • RBC storage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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