The clinical indication for transfusing red blood cells (RBCs) is to restore or maintain adequate oxygenation of respiring tissue. Oxygen (O2) transport, delivery, and utilization following transfusion are impacted by perfusion, hemoglobin (Hb) allosteric saturation/desaturation, and the concentration of tissue O2. Bioavailable O2 maintains tissue utilization and homeostasis; therefore, measuring imbalances in supply and demand could be valuable to assessing blood quality and transfusion effectiveness. O2 homeostasis is critically intertwined with erythropoietic response in blood loss and anemia and the hormones that modulate iron mobilization and RBC production (e.g., erythropoietin, erythroferrone, and hepcidin) are intriguing markers for the monitoring of transfusion effectiveness in acute and chronic settings. The evaluation of RBC donor unit quality and the determination of RBC transfusion needs are emerging areas for biomarker development and minimally invasive O2 measurements.
Novel methods for assessing circulatory and tissue compartment biomarkers of transfusion effectiveness are suggested. In addition, monitoring of tissue oxygenation by indirect and direct measurements of O2 is available and applied in experimental settings.
Herein, we discuss tissue O2 homeostasis, related aspects of erythropoiesis, molecular markers and measurements of tissue oxygenation, all aimed at optimizing transfusion and assessing blood quality.
Laboratory of Biochemistry and Vascular Biology, Division of Blood Components and Devices, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, US Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA
Correspondence to Paul W. Buehler, PharmD, PhD, Laboratory of Biochemistry and Vascular Biology, Division of Blood Components and Devices, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, FDA, 10903 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20993, USA. Tel: +1 240 402 9411; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org