Blood donation involving apheresis is becoming increasingly common. It looks like the process involves centrifuging blood at very high speeds* before removing the desired fraction and returning the rest to the donor. Is there good reason to believe that the centrifuging process is harmless to all the various cells, proteins, lipids, and other substances in whole blood? Or is it possible that some blood constituents are damaged or altered?

* I don't know if the speeds are particularly high compared to other biomedical processes, but they're drastically outside the conditions in which biological products evolved to function, hence my question.

  • $\begingroup$ As someone who handles blood regulary in the lab, I can tell you that cells (and other components of the blood) withstand this conditions without any problems. You can afterwards still grow single cell populations in cell culture. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 7:32
  • $\begingroup$ The centrifugal speed is around 300-500g : this wont disrupt any cells. $\endgroup$
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 8:21
  • $\begingroup$ @WYSIWYG Is that specific to blood donation? I wasn't able to find that information, but when I looked up other blood fractionation procedures (typically for lab use) they had values around 1500g. Or would that even make a difference? $\endgroup$
    – octern
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you both for the comments. I'm obviously not a biologist, so it was counterintuitive to me that forces of that kind would be unproblematic to cells. Is the same thing true for things other than cells, like albumin, liproproteins, etc? $\endgroup$
    – octern
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 17:39
  • $\begingroup$ Chris or WYSIWYG One of you should attempt an answer. $\endgroup$
    – biogirl
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 4:06


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