We investigated the effects of gravitational force and three different plastic formulations of the storage bags on the quality of stored platelets by measuring the changes in platelet-associated immunoglobulin G (IgG) and two antigenic markers of the third component of human complement (C3), C3d and C3c. Pooled platelets were stored in parallel at microgravity (MG) and on the ground (lg) using three different plastic polymers: (1) polyvinylchloride (PVC)plasticized with di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP); (2) PVC plasticized with trioctyl trimellitate (TOTM), and (3)unplasticized polyolefin (PO). The IgG and C3 were quantified by an automated antiglobulin consumption test in freeze/thaw disrupted platelets (total IgG or C3). The baseline values for platelet associated IgG and C3, measured after 2.5 days of storage at 1g just prior to the launch, fell within the normal range. Following an additional 6.5 day storage,platelets stored at MG had accumulated significantly less C3d than those stored at lg, suggesting that MG storage was beneficial. Specific plastic formulations also exerted a significant effect on the accumulation of these immunoproteins, the effect being particularly pronounced at MG. The smallest increases of IgG and C3 were seen in platelets stored in TOTM and the largest in those stored in DEHP. It is possible that further studies at MG would permit a clear characterization of the effects of other independent storage variables.

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