Erythropoiesis slowly decreases with increasing age, which may be reflected in red blood cell (RBC) parameters. This multicentre collaborative study aimed to investigate the changes in erythropoiesis with increasing age in a healthy Chinese population.
A total of 14,591 healthy individuals (6,713 aged at least 60 y and 7,878 aged below 60 y) from seven cities across China were enrolled. K2-EDTA anticoagulant blood samples were analysed. The results are presented as median and 2.5-97.5th percentile.
RBC parameters showed some differences between the two groups divided by the age of 60 in the Chinese population. The median, 2.5th and 97.5th percentile values of RBC, haemoglobin (HGB) and haematocrit (HCT) in patients aged ≥ 60 y were significantly lower than in those ˂ 60 y. The values of mean cell volume (MCV), mean cell haemoglobin (MCH) and red cell distribution width (RDW) were higher in the group aged ≥ 60 y. Men had significantly higher RBC, HGB, HCT, MCV, MCH and RDW indices than women. The prevalence of anaemia gradually increased with age in men and was higher than that in women after 50. The median haemoglobin and MCV in Nanning and Guangzhou were lower than those in other regions.
RBC parameters varied with increasing age and differed between males and females, indicating that erythropoiesis decreases in the elderly Chinese population. Subsequent studies should be conducted for age- and sex-specific reference intervals in healthy elderly Chinese populations.

© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.