Preliminary Investigation of Hydroxyethyl Starch for Avian Red Blood Cell Cryopreservation
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2014
Jennifer E. Graham, DVM, DABVP (Avian/Exotic Companion Mammal), DACZM; Andrew M. Hoffman, DVM, DVSc, DACVIM
Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA, USA


Because of the short life span and high metabolic rate of avian red cells, storage of these cells is difficult.3 With the lack of readily available hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers, practitioners are hard-pressed to treat birds with life-threatening anemia if fresh whole blood from a homologous donor is not available. Cryopreservation would allow for long-term storage of avian red blood cells and serve as a source of blood if a homologous donor is unavailable. Hydroxyethyl starch (HES) has been used to cryopreserve human and canine red blood cells.1,2,4,5 Our hypothesis was that HES would be equally effective for cryopreserving chicken red blood as assessed by saline stability, cell recovery, and apoptotic markers. Results suggest excellent post-thaw saline stability (95.5%) but unacceptable cell recovery (76.8%). This presentation overviews the preliminary investigation of HES for avian red blood cell cryopreservation.

Literature Cited

1.  Horn EP, Sputtek A, Standl T, Rudolf B, Kühnl P, Schulte am Esch. Transfusion of autologous, hydroxyethyl starch-cryopreserved red blood cells. Anesth Analg. 1997;85(4):739–745.

2.  Kim H, Tanaka S, Une S, Nakaichi M, Sumida S, Taura Y. 2004. A comparative study of the effects of glycerol and hydroxyethyl starch in canine red blood cell cryopreservation. J Vet Med Sci. 66 (12): 1543-1547.

3.  Morrisey JK, Hohenhaus AE, Rosenthal K, Giger U. Comparison of three media for the storage of avian whole blood. In: Proceedings from the Association of Avian Veterinarians. 1997;279–280.

4.  Sputtek A, Horn EP, Schulte am Esch, Kühnl P. Cryopreservation of red blood cells using hydroxyethyl starch (HES)—from laboratory investigations to clinical applications. Anasthesiol Intensivmed Notfallmed Schmerzther. 2001;36(Suppl 2):S162–164.

5.  Thomas MJ, Bell SH. Cryopreservation of human red blood cells. Methods Mol Biol. 1995;38:235–250.


Speaker Information
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Jennifer E. Graham, DVM, DABVP (Avian / Exotic Companion Mammal), DACZM
Department of Clinical Sciences
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
Tufts University
North Grafton, MA, USA

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