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Femtogram Resolution of Iron Content on a Per Cell Basis: Ex Vivo Storage of Human Red Blood Cells Leads to Loss of Hemoglobin

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posted on 23.02.2017, 00:00 authored by J. J. Chalmers, X. Jin, A. F. Palmer, M. H. Yazer, L. Moore, P. Amaya, K. Park, X. Pan, M. Zborowski
The magnetic characteristics of hemoglobin (Hb) changes with the binding of dioxygen (O2) to the heme prosthetic groups of the globin chains: from paramagnetic ferrous Hb to diamagnetic ferrous oxyhemoglobin (oxyHb) with reversibly bound O2, or paramagnetic ferric methemoglobin (metHb). When multiplied over the number of Hb molecules in a red blood cell (RBC), the effect is detectable through motion analysis of RBCs in a high magnetic field and gradient. This motion is referred to as magnetophoretic mobility, which can be conveniently expressed as a fraction of the cell sedimentation velocity. In this Article, using a previously developed and reported instrument, cell tracking velocimetry (CTV), we are able to detect difference in Hb concentration in two RBC populations to a resolution of 1 × 107 Hb molecules per cell (4 × 107 atoms of Fe per cell or 4–5 femtograms of Fe). Similar resolution achieved with inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry requires on the order of 105–106 cells and provides an average, whereas CTV provides a measurement for each cell. CTV analysis revealed that RBCs lose, on average, 17% of their Hb after 42 days of storage, the maximum FDA-approved length of time for the cold storage of RBCs in additive solution. This difference in Hb concentration was the result of routine RBC storage; clinical implications are discussed.

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