Cryopreserved platelets have decreased adhesive capacity


1Department of Medicine, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY


The technique of freezing blood platelets has proven very useful in transfusion support of some patients who have become alloimmunized by prior transfusions. Although transfused frozen platelets have an acceptable life span in vivo, functional defects have been found when these cells were tested in vitro. The adhesive properties of frozen platelets were investigated by use of a modified Baumgartner chamber to perform paired perfusion studies of fresh versus frozen platelets or fresh versus 5-day-stored platelets from the same whole blood unit. Platelets were either frozen in liquid nitrogen with dimethyl sulfoxide as the cryopreservative or stored under standard blood bank conditions for 5 days. The freeze-thaw recovery of platelets was 73 +/− 8 percent. Frozen platelets exhibited a significant decrease in platelet adhesion as compared to fresh platelets from the same unit; adhesion of frozen platelets was only 53 percent of that of fresh platelets (p = 0.04). A slight, but insignificant decrease was noted with platelets stored for 5 days (86%, p = 0.197). These findings indicate that frozen-thawed platelets have a significant defect in adhesive capacity as compared to fresh platelets, and that platelets stored under blood bank conditions for 5 days maintain adhesive capacity well.