BACKGROUND: Following transfusion, donor white blood cells (WBCs) can persist long-term in the recipient, a phenomenon termed transfusion-associated microchimerism (TA-MC). Prior studies suggest TA-MC is limited to transfusion following traumatic injury, and is not prevented by leukoreduction. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: We conducted a prospective cohort study at a major trauma center to evaluate TA-MC following injury. Index samples were collected upon arrival, prior to transfusion. Follow-up samples were collected at intervals up to one year, and beyond for those testing positive for TA-MC. TA-MC was detected by real-time quantitative allele-specific polymerase chain reaction assays at the HLA-DR locus and several polymorphic insertion deletion sites screening for non-recipient alleles. RESULTS: A total of 378 trauma patients were enrolled (324 transfused cases and 54 non-transfused controls). Mean age was 42 ± 18 years, 74% were male, and 80% were injured by blunt mechanism. Mean Injury Severity Score was 20 ± 12. Among transfused patients, the median (interquartile range) number of red cell units transfused was 6 (3,12), and median time to first transfusion was 9 (0.8,45) hours. Only one case of long-term TA-MC was confirmed in our cohort. We detected short-term TA-MC in 6.5% of transfused subjects and 5.6% on non-transfused controls. CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to earlier studies, persistent TA-MC was not observed in our cohort of trauma subjects. Short-term TA-MC was detected, but at a lower frequency than previously observed, and rates were not significantly different than what was observed in non-transfused controls. The reduction in TA-MC occurrence may be attributable to changes in leukoreduction or other blood processing methods.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy