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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 5, 2014

Complete blood count reference intervals and age- and sex-related trends of North China Han population

  • Rui Qiao , Shuo Yang , Bei Yao , Hongya Wang , Jie Zhang EMAIL logo and Hong Shang EMAIL logo


Background: Defining common reference intervals (RIs) are encouraging. The aim of this study is to establish RIs for complete blood count (CBC) in a Chinese Han population and probe their age- and sex-related CBC trends. Additionally, we will compare the CBC RIs of Han with those of other races.

Methods: In total 1259 Han individuals (584 male and 675 female) were recruited in North China. CBC was processed on Sysmex XE-2100, Coulter LH750 and Mindray BC5800 whose traceability was well verified. The non-parametric 2.5th–97.5th percentiles RIs were calculated.

Results: The RIs for CBC parameters did not show apparent analyzer-specificity, apart from mean cellular volume (MCV), mean platelet volume (MPV), plateletcrit (PCT) and platelet distribution width (PDW). Red blood cell (RBC), hemoglobin (HBG), hematocrit (HCT), mean cellular hemoglobin (MCH), and mean cellular hemoglobin concentration (MGHC) are higher in males; and their male mean values tend to drop after 40 years; conversely, the female mean values tend to rise. Platelet (PLT) is higher in females and tends to drop after 40 years in both sexes. White blood cell (WBC) and absolute count of neutrophils (NE) and monocytes (MO) are higher in males, but there is no apparent change with age. Lymphocytes (LY) absolute count declines with age in males, but the same change in females is not obvious. RIs for HBG and HCT are similar among Han, Nordic, US European and US Mexican populations and are lower in US Africans. WBC RIs for Han and US African populations are lower than that for US Europeans and US Mexicans.

Conclusions: RIs for major blood cell parameters are not method-dependent; variations obviously exist in age, sex and race. Consequently, common RIs for most CBC parameters appear inapplicable.

Corresponding authors: Dr. Jie Zhang, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Peking University Third Hospital, 49 North Garden Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100191, P.R. China, E-mail: ; and Dr. Hong Shang, Department of Laboratory Medicine, The First Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang 110001, P.R. China, E-mail:


This study was supported by the National Key Technology R&D Program (2012BAI37B01) and the Ministry of Health P.R. China Project of “The establishment of clinical laboratory key assays reference intervals for Chinese”.

Conflict of interest statement

Authors’ conflict of interest disclosure: The authors stated that there are no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this article. Research support played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.

Research funding: None declared.

Employment or leadership: None declared.

Honorarium: None declared.


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Received: 2013-7-27
Accepted: 2014-1-3
Published Online: 2014-2-5
Published in Print: 2014-7-1

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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