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Pub Highlight – RBC EVs Blog

February 1, 2022 – Publication highlight: Blood storage conditions impact size and concentration of red blood cell derived extracellular vesicles (EVs)

In this post, we highlight a recent paper in Nature Scientific Reports from scientists at the Research Centre for Natural Sciences in Hungary that demonstrates the power of Spectradyne’s Microfluidic Resistive Pulse Sensing (MRPS) method to accurately and reliably quantify complex biological samples.

T. Bebesi, D. Kitka, A., I. Csilla Szigyarto, R. Deak, T. Beke-Somfai, K. Koprivanacz, T. Juhasz, A. Bota, Z. Varga and J. Mihaly, “Storage conditions determine the characteristics of red blood cell derived extracellular vesicles,” Sci. Rep. 12, 977 (2022).
DOI link to publication


Micrograph of red blood cells.

Red blood cells (RBCs) used in transfusions must be maintained in standard conditions to slow or halt extracellular vesicle (EV) production, because these particles can cause unexpected immune responses in transfusion recipients. Researchers from this study used Spectradyne’s nCS1TM to observe the formation of RBC-derived EVs over time and in different storage media. The particles formed in the breakdown of red blood cells were further characterized using ATR-IR spectroscopy and proteomic methods.

The authors used Spectradyne’s nCS1 to measure the size and concentration of two distinct populations of breakdown product, suspected to be EVs and proteins respectively. EV concentration was found to increase over time in both storage media. However, the stabilizing media SAGM slowed the formation of EVs as evidenced by a lower measured concentration of EVs than seen in PBS alone (results shown in figure 2 from the article).

The authors note that because the presence of RBC-derived EVs in the transfusion product directly impacts the safety and efficacy of the therapeutic, that the analytical method used to quantify these EVs is of critical importance. In contrast to Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS), the authors preferred MRPS because “…the inability of the method [DLS] to reliably characterize polydisperse size distribution makes it less suitable for quantitative analysis of biofluid-originated particles. Microfluidic resistive pulse sensing (MRPS) offers a quantitative size distribution determination based on the Coulter principle: It detects individual nanoparticles by measuring changes in electrical current as each particle passes through a nanopore.”

The ability to quantify multiple populations within a sample adds a dimension not obtainable with other methods, giving researchers new insights and a more accurate understanding of the content of their samples.

From sunscreen to liquor to the COVID vaccines, nanoparticles are all around us — let’s keep measuring!