Refrigeration of Peripheral Blood

Keith Bahjat Kbahjat at
Thu Feb 27 10:35:58 EST 1997

>Concerning the refrigeration of peripheral blood samples for routine testing
>of T/B subsets, traditionally this was thought to induce changes in certain
>antigen levels.  Published guidelines (i.e. "CDC MMWR) for Immunophenotyping
>of patient samples suggest using only samples kept at room temperature.
> Question (1)  Is this true and are there any recent literature references?
>(2) Is the process reversible after the sample returns to room temperature?
> It wouldn't be difficult to test this but published references would be most
>helpful.   (3)  What is the current thinking about refrigeration (4-10 C) of
>other samples such as bone marrow, tissues, etc?  Thanks for whatever
>references can be provided.
>Bruce Greig
>Immunopathology Laboratory
>Vanderbilt University Medical Center
>Nashville,  TN.  37232
>Email:Brugreig at

The guidelines stating that refrigeration would cause loss of selected
populations were created in the era of density-gradient centrifugation.
Whole blood lysis techniques avoid these losses, and therefore
refrigeration is a viable solution for specimen storage/preservation. And
if you can validate it, you can do it (i.e. store specimens you have run at
4 C then run again to validate no changes occur).

An article published in 1993 covered a wide range of storage conditions and
their effect on immunophenotyping:

Paxton H, Bendele T. Effect of time, temperature, and anticoagulant on flow
cytometric hematological values. Ann NY Acad Sci  1993;677:440-3.

good luck.

Keith Bahjat
Northwestern University Medical School
Comprehensive AIDS Center
Flow Cytometry Laboratory
Chicago, IL
Kbahjat at

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