BACKGROUND: The effect of prestorage filtration on the quality of apheresis platelet concentrates stored for transfusion is undetermined. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Investigation of 11 plateletpheresis components used a concurrent paired-study design. On the day of collection, each component was equally divided into two suspensions; one half was filtered, and the other half was not. Each suspension was stored for 5 days. In vitro testing was performed on the day of collection (Day 0) for cell counts and on Day 5 for measurements of lactate, glucose, blood gases, pH, platelet ATP, hypotonic stress ratio, extent of shape change in response to ADP, tissue necrosis factor alpha, interleukin 8, interleukin 1 alpha, interleukin 1 beta, interleukin 6, and platelet surface glycoproteins by flow cytometry. At the end of the 5-day period, a sample was taken from each of the two suspensions, radiolabeled with either 51Cr or 111In, and transfused concurrently. Posttransfusion samples were drawn for measurements of recovery and platelet survival and for functional assessment of the ex vivo ability of the circulating radiolabeled platelets to aggregate in response to ADP. RESULTS: The apheresis component had a mean platelet yield of 3.2 +/− 0.4 × 10(11) and a white cell yield ranging from 1 × 10(5) to 1 × 10(8), with a median of 2 × 10(7). Filtration resulted in a platelet loss of approximately 10 percent and a variable 2 to 3 log10 reduction in white cell content. No significant differences between filtered and unfiltered suspensions in paired t tests that would likely have an impact on platelet quality were observed in the in vitro tests. The in vivo recovery and survival were highly similar and not statistically different in filtered and unfiltered paired suspensions: the mean difference was 1.2 +/− 4.0 percent for recovery and 7.0 +/− 15 hours for survival. The functional assessment by aggregation to ADP showed no difference between filtered and unfiltered suspensions. A small decrease in tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin 8 was evident in the filtered suspension as compared to levels in the unfiltered suspensions. CONCLUSION: Prestorage white cell reduction in apheresis components resulted in WBC reduction by several log10 with no evident adverse effect on platelet viability or function.