By Science Daily
It may look like fresh blood and flow like fresh blood, but the longer blood is stored, the less it can carry oxygen into the tiny microcapillaries of the body, says a new study from University of Illinois researchers.
Using advanced optical techniques, the researchers measured the stiffness of the membrane surrounding red blood cells over time. They found that, even though the cells retain their shape and hemoglobin content, the membranes get stiffer, which steadily decreases the cells’ functionality.
Led by electrical and computer engineering professor Gabriel Popescu, the team published its results in the journal Scientific Reports.
“Our results show some surprising facts: Even though the blood looks good on the surface, its functionality is degrading steadily with time,” said Popescu, who is also part of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the U. of I.