Storage of red cells is associated with some
significant biochemical and metabolic changes. Red cells
when exposed to oxidative stress during storage as it was
reflected by increasing levels of lipid peroxidation, Hb
oxidation and osmotic lysis. These deleterious changes
were more pronounced after gamma irradiation at 25
Gy. L carnitine, a naturally occurring antioxidant,
known for its role in facilitating mitochondrial beta
oxidation of long chain fatty acids and membrane repair.
Materials and Methods
A total of 30 red cell units were studied. The blood
bags were divided in two aliquots. L carnitine was added
to one aliquot and other half without L carnitine served
as a control. Both the halves were irradiated at 25 Gy
and stored for 28 days. Markers of oxidative injury and
membrane damage were investigated to assess role of L
carnitine as antioxidant.
The mean levels of plasma K+ and supernatant Hb
and MDA were significantly lower in L carnitine
fortified irradiated red cells compared to gamma
irradiated red blood cells without carnitine. (mean
plasma Hb 0.363 gm/dl vs 0.281 gm/dl, mean K+
51.24.4 mmol/L v/s 46.33.3* mmol/L and mean MDA
5.010.99 mmol/L v/s 4.04*1.13 mmol/L). L carnitine
provided beneficial effect against such radiation induced
red cell damage.
Lower levels of markers of red cell membrane
damage and oxidative injury were observed in L
carnitine fortified irradiated red blood cells compared to
non-irradiated. Since L carnitine is also a naturally
occurring compound, it can be added to the blood bags
for protection of red blood cells against oxidative
Keywords : Oxidative Injury, Gamma Irradiation, L Carnitine, Red Cell Storage Lesion.