Detection of autologous blood transfusions using a novel dried blood spot method

Detection of autologous blood transfusions using a novel dried blood spot method / Holly D. Cox, Geoffrey D. Miller, Auriella Lai, Dan Cushman, Daniel Eichner. - (Drug testing and analysis 9 (2017) 11-12 (November-December) ; p. 1713-1720)

  • PMID: 29045074.
  • DOI: 10.1002/dta.2323


In doping control laboratories, autologous blood transfusions are currently detected using an indirect method that monitors changes in an athlete's hemoglobin concentration [Hb] and reticulocyte percent (Ret%) over time. The method is limited by the need for a phlebotomist to collect venous blood and the limited blood stability which requires temperature-controlled shipment and analysis within 72 hours. These limitations significantly reduce the number of samples collected from each athlete and thus the utility of the method. We have recently developed a method to measure immature reticulocytes (IRC) and red blood cells (RBC) in dried blood spots, which could replace the current venous blood method. In the DBS method, cell-specific proteins are digested with trypsin and measured by mass spectrometry. Two proteins, CD71 and Band3, are measured to count IRC and RBC, respectively. The method was tested in an autologous transfusion study consisting of 15 subjects who received blood and 11 subjects who received saline. After transfusion, the average CD71/Band3 ratio in the blood group was statistically different from the saline group at days 5, 6, 13, and 20. The average CD71/Band3 ratio decreased to a minimum of 61 ± 8% of baseline, while Ret% decreased to 75 ± 5% of baseline. Based on experimentally defined criteria, the CD71/Band3 ratio could detect 7 out of 10 blood transfusion subjects, while Ret% could detect 3 out of 10. Thus, the DBS method could improve detection of autologous transfusion and allow increased sample collection.

Original document


Research / Study
27 November 2017
Cox, Holly D.
Cushman, Dan
Eichner, Daniel
Lai, Auriella
Miller, Geoffrey D.
United States of America
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University of Utah School of Medicine
Salt Lake City, USA: The Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL)
Analytical aspects
Blood testing method
Testing method development
Medical terms
Blood doping
Intravenous infusions
Blood Sample Collection
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Scientific article
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Pdf file
Date generated
21 January 2019
Date of last modification
7 September 2020
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