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RBCs life span - Blood Bank (Apr/18/2006 )

Hi all,

I'm trying to answer this qestion i got from my nephew, which is:

"if we will take blood from donor we keep it in blood bank for 21 days only, then we should throw it, although the red blood cell life span is 120 days ((WHY))??"

i can simply say that the life span of RBCs in the body is longer becuse the conditions provided to them inside our bodies is diffrent than out side!!

OR the need to transfer the RBCs within that period of time to insure that high percentage of living RBCs is available!!

are these logical answer or did I miss any thing?


you're right regarding RBC.
But blood alters too. Many cells does not have a s long half life. So blodd quality decreases, part due to cell content release (of dead cells). Some other proteic factors does not survive more than few days. Finally, bacterias grow more and more... (regarding the fact that balance of immune cells/bacterias goes in side of bacterias).


Thanks for the reply fred_33, I really appreciated.

You are right regarding the other cells and factors in blood, but I focused my attention on RBCs, I do not know why I’m thinking that iron may play a role in this?? blink.gif

Thank you again.


it's quite a long time i've studied mechanisms inside the RBC, but i think that there is some hemoproteins that need maintainance during the lifespan. As elements decrease in blood, aybe that drives such pb. Moreover, energy is not restored. So osmotic pumps are not able to function properly. RBC are some of the most sensitive cells to osmotic pressure (not 100% sure of this last point, sorry if i'm wrong)

link i found also is : " Functional iron deficiency, in which the rate of release of iron from stores is inadequate to support haemoglobin synthesis."

this article seems useful too : "Maintenance of iron homeostasis is a prerequisite for many essential biological processes and a central element for the development of erythroid precursors and mature red blood cells"