AAT Bioquest

How can I isolate red blood cells from plasma?

Posted May 9, 2020


Centrifugation of whole blood can separate the blood into its components: a top layer of plasma, a thin middle layer (known as a buffy coat) of leukocytes and platelets, and a bottom layer of erythrocytes, or red blood cells.

To isolate red blood cells, whole blood should first be centrifuged at 3000 RPM for 10 minutes at 4°C, after which the supernatant is aspirated, leaving behind an erythrocyte pellet. The pellet should then be resuspended in PBS (10 times the volume of the pellet) and centrifuged again under the same conditions. After aspirating the supernatant again, repeat the centrifugation, resuspension, and aspiration twice more.

Additional resources

Fye, H. K., Mrosso, P., Bruce, L., Thézénas, M. L., Davis, S., Fischer, R., ... & Kessler, B. M. (2018). A robust mass spectrometry method for rapid profiling of erythrocyte ghost membrane proteomes. Clinical proteomics, 15(1), 14.