BACKGROUND: To investigate the pathophysiology of anemia and responses to red blood cell (RBC) transfusions and erythropoietin, repeated measurement of the circulating red blood cell volume (RCV) would be useful. Ovine erythropoiesis is similar to human erythropoiesis. Accordingly, a method for measuring RCV using either human or sheep RBCs labeled at different biotin densities has been previously validated in vitro. Here preclinical studies validating this method for in vivo measurement of circulating RCV in sheep are reported.
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: For each sheep, autologous RBCs were biotinylated were at four discrete densities (12, 24, 48, and 96 µg biotinylation reagent/mL RBCs). The densities were mixed and infused intravenously. Blood was sampled five times over 1 hour beginning at 4 minutes. RCV values were determined based on dilution of each population of biotinylated RBCs and by the [14C]cyanate method.
RESULTS: There was no difference among RCVs measured at all densities through 16 minutes; however, by 60 minutes, RBCs biotinylated at the highest density overestimated RCV by 7.6%. RCV values increased 41% over the hour, consistent with equilibration with a pool of RBCs sequestered in the spleen. RCV by the [14C]cyanate method paralleled results by the biotin method but averaged 8% greater.
CONCLUSIONS: These studies provide evidence that all four densities of biotinylated RBCs can be used in sheep to simultaneously and independently determine RCV. We speculate that the multidensity biotinylation method will be useful both for multiple simultaneous measurements and for repeated measurement of circulating RCV and blood volume in humans.