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Djuna (DZ) de Back

Blood Cell Research


Research interests

Identification of removal signals on donor erythrocytes after transfusion.
Erythrocyte clearance has been studied for many years in the context of normal turnover, enhanced clearance due to genetic erythrocyte defects and blood transfusion. A large number of factors that may influence erythrocyte clearance have been proposed, ranging from auto-antibody binding to a ‘senescent cell antigen’ to the expression of phosphatidylserine (PS) on the outer leaflet of the erythrocyte membrane. However, the molecular mechanisms by which erythrocytes are cleared in vivo are still elusive. Identification of the routes that lead to erythrocyte clearance are in particular important for transfusion practice, since 10-25% of the donor erythrocytes are cleared within 24 hrs after transfusion, a phenomenon that is more and more associated with serious side-effects in the recipient. In the normal life span of autologous erythrocytes, it is believed that these are cleared after gradually gaining ‘eat me’ signals and thereafter these erythrocytes are phagocytosed by macrophages of the reticuloendothelial system (RES), predominantly in the spleen and liver. However, evidence exists that transfused erythrocytes can also be cleared by endothelial cells or even by monocytes while in the blood stream. This project is dedicated to the identification of removal signals on donor erythrocytes after transfusion and whether these removal signals after transfusion vary between short and long stored donor red blood cells.

  • Flow cytometry
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Blood cell isolation
  • Phagocytosis assay
2013-presentPhD student at Dept Blood Cell Research, Sanquin Research, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2011-2012Medical Doctor Intensive Care department, Rijnland Hospital, Leiderdorp
2005-2010MSc Medicine, University of Amsterdam
2009Research project at the Dept of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom
2008Research project at the department of Radiotherapy, University of Amsterdam, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam
Sanquin publications
Other publications

Pieters BR, de Back DZ, Koning CC, Zwinderman AH. Comparison of three radiotherapy modalities on biochemical control and overall survival for the treatment of prostate cancer: a systematic review. Radiotherapy and Oncology 2009; 93(2):168-73.

Last edited on: 15 November 2017
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