The rapid degradation of blood ex vivo imposes logistical limitations on the utilization of blood-borne cells in medical diagnostics and scientific investigations. A fundamental but overlooked aspect in the storage of this fluid tissue is blood settling, which induces physical stress and compaction, aggregates blood cells, and causes collateral damage due to leukocyte activation. Here we show that the polymer Ficoll 70 kDa stabilized blood samples and prevented blood settling over the course of 72 hours, primarily by inhibiting depletion-mediated red blood cell aggregation. Physical stabilization decreased echinocyte formation, improved leukocyte viability, and inhibited the release of neutrophil elastase-a marker of neutrophil extracellular trap formation. In addition, Ficoll-stabilized blood was compatible with common leukocyte enrichment techniques including red blood cell lysis and immunomagnetic purification. This study showed for the first time that blood settling can be prevented using polymers and has implications in diagnostics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas