Background - Transfusion of stored whole blood (SWB) to resuscitate severe traumatic haemorrhage patients in military operations and civilian emergency centres is being increasingly used in routine practice. It has been well established that transfusion of red blood cells (RBCs) after prolonged storage has harmful effects, mainly mediated by inflammation. Whether the side effects of inflammation are brought about by SWB transfusion remains unclear.
Materials and methods - A hepatocyte SAA (serum amyloid A) specific reporter mouse that facilitated non-invasive imaging of hepatocyte SAA expression was used to evaluate acute inflammation and acute-phase reaction after the transfusion of SWB or components separated from end-storage whole blood. The whole blood of C57BL/6 donor mouse was used to model an allogeneic
transfusion to BALB/c recipient mouse.
Results - End-storage whole blood (14 days of storage) transfusion induced the most significant SAA expression, while 10-day storage resulted in a much weaker signal compared to their fresh and 5-day storage counterparts. RBCs rather than white blood cells and plasma-containing platelets are thought to be responsible for the systemic inflammatory and SAA activation during end-storage whole blood transfusion. Circulatory and hepatic pro-inflammatory cytokines secreted by M1-polarised macrophage initiated the SAA expression in hepatocytes through nuclear transcription factor NF-κB.
Discussion - Storage lesions will also occur during the storage of whole blood, which is related to the change in RBCs with prolonged storage. The side effect induced by systemic inflammation and acute-phase reaction should be considered before resuscitation with long-term storage whole blood transfusion.