BACKGROUND: The transfusion of peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) concentrates is sometimes associated with febrile transfusion reactions. PBSC concentrates contain large numbers of white blood cells, and during storage the levels of soluble cytokines that could cause transfusion reactions may increase.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Aliquots of granulocyte–colony-stimulating factor (CSF)–mobilized PBSC concentrates from nine healthy subjects were stored in bags at 2 to 8°C for 48 hours. The levels of 19 growth factors and biologic response modifiers were measured in the plasma of PBSC concentrates at 0, 24, and 48 hours of storage using a nested enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The same 19 factor levels were also measured in blood plasma from six healthy subjects.

RESULTS: There were no significant differences in the PBSC and plasma levels of soluble interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, which can cause febrile reactions. The levels of TGF-β1, matrix metalloproteinase-8, CCL5/(reduced on activation normal T expressed and secreted), and platelet (PLT)-derived growth factor-AB were significantly greater in PBSCs than in plasma and the level of CCL2/MCP-1 was significantly less in PBSCs. Duration of PBSC storage had no effect on the levels of these five factors. There was a trend for reduced levels of IL-1β, IL-2, IL-7, IL-8, IL-12p70, IL-15, interferon-γ, CD40L, and granulocyte-macrophage–CSF and increased levels of TNF-α and IL-10 levels in PBSC concentrates, but the differences were not significant.

CONCLUSIONS: There was no increase in stored PBSC concentrates of cytokines that have been associated with febrile transfusion reactions; however, the levels of other factors that were likely released by PLTs and granulocytes during the collection process were elevated.