Background: Post-transfusion survival of allogeneic RBCs has been reported to be much shorter in horses than in other species. We hypothesized that post-transfusion survival of biotinylated allogeneic equine RBCs would be greater than the survival previously reported from studies using radioactive RBC-labeling techniques. Objective: The study objective was to determine post-transfusion survival of N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS)-biotin-labeled allogeneic equine RBCs transfused into adult horses. Methods: Horses were adults and included 5 donors and 5 recipients. All horses were blood-typed, and donors were paired with recipients based upon blood type and crossmatch results. Donor blood was collected in a volume of 4 L into citrate phosphate dextrose adenine-1 and stored for 24 hours, labeled with NHS-biotin, and re-infused into recipients. Post-transfusion blood samples were collected at 15 minutes and at 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 14, 21, 28, and 35 days. Biotin-labeled RBCs were detected by flow cytometry using streptavidin-phycoerythrin. Post-transfusion survival at 24 hours, lifespan, and half-life of biotinylated RBCs were determined. Results: Mean ± SD survival of biotinylated RBCs at 24 hours post-transfusion was 95 ± 24%; the mean lifespan of transfused allogeneic RBCs was 39 days based on calculation of a linear regression survival curve, and mean post-transfusion RBC half-life was 20 days. Conclusions: Post-transfusion survival of 24-hour stored equine allogeneic RBCs was greater than previously reported but less than that observed for other companion animal species. Mechanisms for the relatively short post-transfusion lifespan of allogeneic equine RBCs remain unknown and warrant further study.
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