Determination of red blood cell adhesion to vascular endothelial cells: A critical role for blood plasma

Gregory Barshtein*, Orly Zelig, Alexander Gural, Dan Arbell, Saul Yedgar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Red blood cell (RBC) adhesion to vascular endothelial cells (EC) is considered a potent effector of circulatory disorders, and its enhancement is implicated in the pathophysiology of numerous conditions, mainly hemoglobinopathies. The actual RBC/EC interaction is determined by both cellular and plasmatic factors, and the differentiation between them is essential for understanding its physiological implications. Yet, RBC/EC adhesion has been studied predominantly in protein-free media. To explore the plasma contribution to RBC/EC adhesion, we examined the adhesion of human RBC to human vascular endothelial cells in the presence of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) and compared it to that in a protein-free phosphate-buffered saline (PBS). RBC from blood samples freshly-collected from five healthy donors and from fifteen units of packed RBC units were used. The same FFP sample was used in all measurements. In FFP, the RBC form strongly adherent aggregates, which are dispersed as the shear stress (τ) increases to 3.0 Pa, and even at 5.0 Pa a large portion of the RBC are still adherent. In PBS, the RBC are singly dispersed and their adhesion becomes insignificant already at τ = 0.5 Pa. No cross-correlation was found between the adhesion in PBS vs. that in FFP at the same τ. However, in both media, under conditions that form singly dispersed adherent RBC, an inverse correlation between RBC/EC adhesion in PBS vs. that in FFP was observed. This study clearly implies that for understanding the physiological relevance of RBC/EC adhesion it should be determined in plasma.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number112226
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to Ms. Olga Fredman for her technical assistance.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Endothelium
  • Plasma
  • RBC adhesion
  • RBC aggregation
  • Red blood cells
  • Shear stress
  • Endothelial Cells
  • Humans
  • Erythrocytes
  • Cell Adhesion


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