Mechanisms of red blood cell transfusion-related immunomodulation

for the Pediatric Critical Care Blood Research Network (Blood Net)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


Red blood cell (RBC) transfusion is common in critically ill, postsurgical, and posttrauma patients in whom both systemic inflammation and immune suppression are associated with adverse outcomes. RBC products contain a multitude of immunomodulatory mediators that interact with and alter immune cell function. These interactions can lead to both proinflammatory and immunosuppressive effects. Defining clinical outcomes related to immunomodulatory effects of RBCs in transfused patients remains a challenge, likely due to complex interactions between individual blood product characteristics and patient-specific risk factors. Unpacking these complexities requires an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms of immunomodulatory effects of RBC products. In this review, we outline and classify potential mediators of RBC transfusion-related immunomodulation and provide suggestions for future research directions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)804-815
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


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