Institute of Fundamental Technological Research
Polish Academy of Sciences


Researchers from IPPT PAN are actively engaged in a collaborative research initiative led by Professor Paweł Świętach from Oxford University, focusing on the critical theme of oxygen unloading from red blood cells. The outcomes of this collaboration have recently been accepted for publication in the prestigious scientific journal Blood, endorsed by the American Society of Hematology.

Paweł Świętach – professor of physiology at Oxford University, has developed a method to monitor the oxygen flow in individual red blood cells, combining ultrarapid solution switching to manipulate gas tension with single-cell O2 saturation fluorescence microscopy. This groundbreaking approach revealed that cytoplasmic diffusion, influenced by path length and tortuosity, serves as a significant barrier to efficient gas transport in red blood cells, leading to two paradigm-shifting findings:

Firstly, the rate of O2 unloading from red blood cells was considerably slower than previously estimated in cellular hemoglobin solutions, exposing diffusion barriers not considered in earlier studies. Secondly, hematological disorders affecting red blood cell shape and hemoglobin concentration can significantly impact oxygen exchange.

In the recent Blood publication, which investigated human kidneys perfused with stored blood during transplantation, the respiratory rate of the organ was measured. The study challenges the conventional definition of oxygen delivery based on blood flow and oxygen content, highlighting its inadequate representation of blood efficiency in tissue oxygenation. However, the research uncovered a robust correlation between monitored kidney respiration and the rate of oxygen release from erythrocytes—the factor introduced initially by Prof. Świętach in his previous works.

This research underscores that transfused blood can result in diffusion-limited oxygen release, emphasizing the critical importance of controlling the kinetic quality of red blood cells in blood transfusions and organ transplantations.

Three co-authors from IPPT PAN, namely Tetuko Kurniawan, Sławomir Błoński, and Piotr Korczyk, contributed to the recent Blood publication. Professor Paweł Świętach invited Piotr Korczyk's group to collaborate, recognizing their expertise in microfluidics. The IPPT group has developed an innovative microfluidic device that facilitates experiments on blood cells and the estimation of kinetic properties of erythrocytes in oxygen release.

Notably, the article in Blood is not the first study resulting from the collaboration between Professor Paweł Świętach and Korczyk's group. A previous study was published in Blood Advances with the following IPPT authors: Sławomir Błoński, Damian Zaremba, and Piotr Korczyk.


Richard Dumbill, Julija Rabcuka, John Fallon, Simon Knight, James Hunter, Daniel Voyce, Jacob Thomas Barrett, Matt Ellen, Annemarie Weissenbacher, Tetuko Kurniawan, Slawomir Blonski, Piotr M. Korczyk, Rutger Jan Ploeg, Constantin Coussios, Peter Friend, Pawel Swietach, Impaired O2 unloading from stored blood results in diffusion-limited O2 release at tissues: evidence from human kidneys

Blood: DOI: 10.1182/blood.2023022385

Rabcuka J., Błoński S., Meli A., Sowemimo-Coker S., Zaremba D., Stephenson D., Dzieciatkowska M., Nerguizian D., Cardigan R., Korczyk P.M., Smethurst P.A., D’Alessandro A., Swietach P., Metabolic reprogramming under hypoxic storage preserves faster oxygen unloading from stored red blood cells, Blood Advances, ISSN: 2473-9529, Vol.6, No.18, pp.5415-5428, 2022

Blood Advances: DOI: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2022007774


Fot.: IPPT PAN, Laboratories of Department of Biosystems and Soft Matter

Category A Plus


logo ippt            Pawińskiego 5B, 02-106 Warsaw
  +48 22 826 12 81 (central)
  +48 22 826 98 15

Find Us

© Institute of Fundamental Technological Research Polish Academy of Sciences 2024