Detection of microparticles from human red blood cells by multiparametric flow cytometry

Giulia Grisendi, Elena Finetti, Daniele Manganaro, Nicoletta Cordova, Giuliano Montagnani, Carlotta Spano, Malvina Prapa, Valentina Guarneri, Satoru Otsuru, Edwin M. Horwitz, Giorgio Mari, Massimo Dominici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: During storage, red blood cells (RBC) undergo chemical and biochemical changes referred to as "storage lesions". These events determine the loss of RBC integrity, resulting in lysis and release of microparticles. There is growing evidence of the clinical importance of microparticles and their role in blood transfusion-related side effects and pathogen transmission. Flow cytometry is currently one of the most common techniques used to quantify and characterise microparticles. Here we propose multiparametric staining to monitor and quantify the dynamic release of microparticles by stored human RBC. Material and methods: RBC units (n=10) were stored under blood bank conditions for up to 42 days. Samples were tested at different time points to detect microparticles and determine the haemolysis rate (HR%). Microparticles were identified by flow cytometry combining carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester (CFSE) dye, annexin V and anti-glycophorin A antibody. Results: We demonstrated that CFSE can be successfully used to label closed vesicles with an intact membrane. The combination of CFSE and glycophorin A antibody was effective for monitoring and quantifying the dynamic release of microparticles from RBC during storage. Double staining with CFSE/glycophorin A was a more precise approach, increasing vesicle detection up to 4.7-fold vs the use of glycophorin A/annexin V alone. Moreover, at all the time points tested, we found a robust correlation (R=0.625; p=0.0001) between HR% and number of microparticles detected. Discussion: Multiparametric staining, based on a combination of CFSE, glycophorin A antibody and annexin V, was able to detect, characterise and monitor the release of microparticles from RBC units during storage, providing a sensitive approach to labelling and identifying microparticles for transfusion medicine and, more broadly, for cell-based therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-280
Number of pages7
JournalBlood Transfusion
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • CFSE
  • Flow cytometry
  • Microparticles
  • Red blood cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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