Non–transferrin-bound iron (NTBI) and free hemoglobin (Hb) accumulate in circulation following stored RBC transfusions. This study investigated transfusion, vascular disease, and mortality in guinea pigs after stored RBC transfusion alone and following cotransfusion with apo-transferrin (apo-Tf) and haptoglobin (Hp). The effects of RBC exchange transfusion dose (1, 3, and 9 units), storage period (14 days), and mortality were evaluated in guinea pigs with a vascular disease phenotype. Seven-day mortality and the interaction between iron and Hb as cocontributors to adverse outcome were studied. Concentrations of iron and free Hb were greatest after transfusion with 9 units of stored RBCs compared with fresh RBCs or stored RBCs at 1- and 3-unit volumes. Nine units of stored RBCs led to mortality in vascular diseased animals, but not normal animals. One and 3 units of stored RBCs did not cause a mortality effect, suggesting the concomitant relevance of NTBI and Hb on outcome. Cotransfusion with apo-Tf or Hp restored survival to 100% following 9-unit RBC transfusions in vascular diseased animals. Our data suggest that increases in plasma NTBI and Hb contribute to vascular disease–associated mortality through iron-enhanced Hb oxidation and enhanced tissue injury.


Jin Hyen Baek, Ayla Yalamanoglu, Yamei Gao, Ricardo Guenster, Donat R. Spahn, Dominik J. Schaer, Paul W. Buehler


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