Chemokin receptors expressed on T cells in packed red blood cell units change over storage time

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The transfusion of blood products is associated with adverse events that are related to the leukocytes in stored units of blood. These leukocytes have been shown to promote the elaboration of inflammatory cytokines. However, the status of a set of key inflammatory mediators, chemokine receptors, expressed on T lymphocytes in stored red blood cell (RBC) units is largely unknown. We investigated the expression pattern of selected chemokine receptors on T cells from non-leukocyte-reduced RBC units over storage time. Selecting segments from stored RBC units, we evaluated the T-cell subsets for the chemokine receptors CXCR3 and CCR4 by flow cytometry. Statistical analysis was performed by regression analysis. We analysed 30 samples stored between 5 and 38 days. The CD4+ T cells expressing CXCR3 increased by 0·27% daily (P = 0·02), whereas the expression of CCR4 declined by 0·40% daily (P < 0·001). Though the expression of the chemokine receptors on CD8+ cells followed the same trend, the changes were statistically nonsignificant. This study suggests that a longer duration of storage is associated with a higher expression of chemokine receptor CXCR3 and a lower expression of CCR4 on T cells in RBC units, suggesting a pro-inflammatory Th1 bias. The clinical significance of these changes in the setting of adverse transfusion events needs further evaluation.

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