• Label-Free Analysis of Red Blood Cell Storage Lesions Using Imaging Flow Cytometry.

Label-Free Analysis of Red Blood Cell Storage Lesions Using Imaging Flow Cytometry.

Cytometry. Part A : the journal of the International Society for Analytical Cytology (2019-07-12)
Ruben N Pinto, Joseph A Sebastian, Michael J Parsons, Tim C Chang, Tracey R Turner, Jason P Acker, Michael C Kolios

Deleterious changes, collectively termed as storage lesions, alter the characteristics of red blood cell (RBC) morphology during in vitro storage. Due to gradual loss of cellular membrane, RBCs lose their original biconcave disk shape and begin a process of spherical deformation that is characterized by well-defined morphological criteria. At the spheroechinocyte stage, the structure of RBC is irreversibly damaged and lacks the elasticity necessary to efficiently deliver oxygen. Quantifying the prevalence of spheroechinocytes could provide an important morphological measure of the quality of stored blood products. Unlike the conventional RBC morphology characterization assay involving light microscopy, we introduce a label-free assay using imaging flow cytometry (IFC). The technique captures 100,000 images of a sample and calculates a relative measure of spheroechinocyte population in a fraction of the time required by the conventional method. A comparative method study, measuring a morphological index for 11 RCC units through storage, found that the two techniques measured similar trends with IFC reporting the metric at an average of 3.9% higher. We monitored 18 RCC units between Weeks 1 and 6 of storage and found that the spheroechinocyte population increased by an average of 26.2%. The large (3.5-64.1%) variation between the units' spheroechinocyte population percentage at Week 1 suggests a possible dependence of blood product quality on donor characteristics. Given our method's ability to rapidly monitor large samples and refine morphological characterization beyond conventional methods, we believe our technique offers good potential for studying the underlying relationships between RBC morphology and blood storage lesions. © 2019 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry.

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