Do we store packed red blood cells under “quasi-diabetic” conditions?

Leonid Livshits, Gregory Barshtein*, Dan Arbell, Alexander Gural, Carina Levin, Hélène Guizouarn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Red blood cell (RBC) transfusion is one of the most common therapeutic procedures in modern medicine. Although frequently lifesaving, it often has deleterious side effects. RBC quality is one of the critical factors for transfusion efficacy and safety. The role of various factors in the cells' ability to maintain their functionality during storage is widely discussed in professional literature. Thus, the extra-and intracellular factors inducing an accelerated RBC aging need to be identified and therapeutically modified. Despite the extensively studied in vivo effect of chronic hyperglyce-mia on RBC hemodynamic and metabolic properties, as well as on their lifespan, only limited at-tention has been directed at the high sugar concentration in RBCs storage media, a possible cause of damage to red blood cells. This mini-review aims to compare the biophysical and biochemical changes observed in the red blood cells during cold storage and in patients with non-insulin-de-pendent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). Given the well-described corresponding RBC alterations in NIDDM and during cold storage, we may regard the stored (especially long-stored) RBCs as "quasi-diabetic". Keeping in mind that these RBC modifications may be crucial for the initial steps of mi-crovascular pathogenesis, suitable preventive care for the transfused patients should be considered. We hope that our hypothesis will stimulate targeted experimental research to establish a relationship between a high sugar concentration in a storage medium and a deterioration in cells' functional properties during storage.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number992
Issue number7
StatePublished - 5 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

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© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • RBC storage
  • RBC transfusion
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus


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