BACKGROUND: Current additive solutions (ASs) for red cells (RBCs) do not maintain a constant level of critical metabolites such as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and 2,3-diphosphoglycerate acid (2,3-DPG) during cold storage. From the literature it is known that the intracellular pH is an important determinant of RBC metabolism. Therefore, a new, alkaline, AS was developed with the aim to allow cold storage of RBCs with stable product characteristics. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Whole blood-derived RBCs (leukoreduced) were resuspended in experimental medium phosphate-adenine-guanosine-glucose-gluconate-mannitol (PAGGG-M; pH 8.2) with and without washing in the same medium. During cold storage several in vitro variables, such as intracellular pH, 2,3-DPG, ATP, and hemolysis, were analyzed. RESULTS: During cold storage, RBCs resuspended in PAGGG-M showed a constant ATP level (approx. 6 mumol/g Hb) and a very limited hemolysis ( <0.2%). The 2,3-DPG content showed an increase until Day 21 (150% of initial level), followed by a slow decrease, with at Day 35 still 100 percent of the initial level. RBCs washed in PAGGG-M even showed a continuous increase of 2,3-DPG during 35 days, with a maximum level of 200 percent of the initial value. The effect of PAGGG-M appears to be related to long-lasting effects of the initial intracellular pH shortly after production. CONCLUSION: Resuspension of RBCs in our alkaline medium PAGGG-M resulted in a RBC unit of high quality during storage for up to at least 35 days, with 2,3-DPG levels of higher than 10 mumol per g Hb, hemolysis of less than 0.2 percent, and ATP levels of higher than 5 mumol per g H
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