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Citation Information : Immunohematology. Volume 37, Issue 2, Pages 78-83, DOI: https://doi.org/10.21307/immunohematology-2021-012
License : (Transfer of Copyright)
Published Online: 25-June-2021
Units of red blood cell (RBC) concentrates with rare phenotypes are typically not included in method validation studies for cryopreservation processes; rather, they are reserved for patients with rare blood needs. Some rare RBC phenotypes may demonstrate membrane abnormalities, like acanthocytosis as observed for RBCs with the McLeod phenotype, and are specifically banked for these rare attributes; however, the impact that rare RBC phenotypes have on post-thaw quality has not been well studied. To evaluate how a rare RBC phenotype is affected by the cryopreservation process, 4 RBC units, cryopreserved in 1993 using manual methods, were selected for evaluation. These RBCs included one with the McLeod phenotype and three with phenotypes not known to cause significant membrane changes. Post-thaw, an altered deglycerolization protocol, implemented to reduce supernatant glycerol after cryopreservation, was used before processing RBCs on an automated closed system (ACP 215; Haemonetics, Boston, MA) to accommodate the use of a closed system cell processor not available when the RBC units were previously cryopreserved. RBC quality was tested at 24 hours, 7 days, and 14 days post-deglycerolization. Before deglycerolization, an extracted sample from the thawed glycerolized RBC unit was used to obtain genetic material for phenotype confirmation. Genotyping confirmed the McLeod phenotype. When comparing McLeod with non-McLeod units, RBCs from the McLeod donor exhibited acanthocytosis, higher rigidity, and lower morphology scores than RBCs from the non-McLeod units post-deglycerolization. Hemolysis, however, was comparable across all 4 units, meeting regulatory standards. Therefore, McLeod RBCs can withstand cryopreservation, suggesting that units from these donors, glycerolized using older methods, can be deglycerolized using the ACP 215 and stored hypothermically for 14 days. It was also determined that genotyping can be performed on non-leukocyte–reduced cryopreserved RBCs, allowing for confirmation of genetic profiles of donor units banked before the implementation of molecular methods.