Glossary of Grifology terms

The Grifology project is designed to share the wealth of knowledge that Grifols has acquired in the field of innovation. For this reason, there is an emphasis on plain language throughout, with technical terms kept to the minimum. However, the subject matter means there is no way of avoiding some subject-specific terminology with which the general reader may not be familiar. This glossary aims to enable readers to get the most out of Grifology, enhancing their enjoyment of the content and promoting learning.



ABO blood group system

System used to group human blood into different types depending on the presence or absence of certain markers on the surface of the red blood cells. The four main blood types are A, B, O and AB.

Agglutination technique

Technique for pretransfusion tests based on the Ag-Ab reaction (antigens-antibodies), causing a given agglutination, which can then be observed to determine the blood type. This technique can be performed in a tube, a gel column or on microplates.

Blood agglutination

Antigens have the capacity to stimulate the immune system, triggering a response in the form of antibodies. This reaction determines compatibility between different blood groups. First, the antigen binds to the antibody. The antibodies then react to the appearance of contrary antigens, causing the red blood cells to form clumps or agglutinate.

Gel column agglutination technique

Agglutination technique to determine blood groups and for transfusion compatibility studies, which uses gel as a reagent. This gel sits in columns on cards of 6 to 8 wells.


Plasma protein fraction commonly used as a macromolecular medium in the incubation of laboratory tests, reducing what is known as the "zeta-potential". As a hemoderivative, it is used as a plasma volume expander and for protein replacement in some cases.


X-ray or image of the blood vessels and flow of blood within the body.


Exploratory radiological technique in which a contrast fluid is injected into the vascular system to render the blood opaque and thus enable observation of the internal state of blood vessels.


Protein synthesized by the body in response to the introduction of an antigen.


Substance that prevents or reduces blood coagulation.


Foreign body that enters the organism and prompts an immune response.


Antibody that reacts with the plasma globulins.


Serum or reagent that contains specific antibodies (immunoglobulins) against one or more antigens.


Absence of pathogenic micro-organisms.


Red blood cell

Red blood cells, also referred to as erythrocytes, are the most common type of blood cell, and are responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the different tissues, organs and systems of the body, a task they perform thanks to a protein called hemoglobin.


Laboratory instrument that applies centrifugal force to accelerate the separation of solid particles suspended in a liquid, based on their density. It is used, for example, to separate plasma and blood serum from blood cell components during analysis for blood testing.

Sodium citrate

Sodium citrate is the sodium salt of citric acid. It is used as an anticoagulant in tubes used to extract blood in some laboratory tests that measure blood clotting time, including activated partial thromboplastin time and prothrombin time. The concentration of sodium citrate used as an anticoagulant is an important pre-analytic variable because blood plasma clotting time may vary as the quantity of citrate present affects the concentration of calcium used in these tests.

Coombs test

Diagnostic test that can detect the presence of antibodies in the serum that react with antigens on the surface of the red blood cells. Used to diagnose blood disorders in which the patient produces antibodies against their own red blood cells and platelets. Also used to determine blood type.



Deoxyribonucleic acid: a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all living organisms and some viruses. It is also responsible for hereditary transmission.



Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid: an anticoagulant used in hematology.

ELISA technique

Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay: immunological technique where the reaction between antigen and antibody is detected by spectrophotometric determination of the action of an enzyme that is linked to the antigen or antibody. It is cheaper and simpler than radioimmunoassay, with similar effectiveness. It is also called enzyme immunoanalysis or enzyme immunoassay.



Glass tube with vacuum, used to obtain blood samples for clinical analysis under aseptic conditions.



An individual's set of genes.


Genotyping is the process by which differences in the genetic makeup or genotype of an individual are identified by analysis of their individual DNA sequence. This can be done by comparing the genotype with another individual's sequence or with a reference sequence.


Particular class of protein, to which antibodies belong.


Good Laboratory Practice.


Good Manufacturing Practices.



The volumetric proportion of red blood cells in the blood. This value is obtained by performing a blood test in a laboratory. The normal hematocrit values depend on the references selected by the laboratory. In general, average values are between 41% and 51% for men, and between 36% and 45% for women.


Study that makes it possible to identify the composition of blood and which is used as a clinical analysis tool.


The process of decomposition of red blood cells.


Hemostasis is the interruption of hemorrhage either spontaneously or by physical means, such as manual compression or tourniquet, or chemical means, such as the use of drugs.


Heparin is a natural substance in the blood which interferes with the blood clotting process. It acts on a substance called thrombin, which plays an important role in the formation of blood clots.


Treatment with heparin to prevent blood coagulation.



Plasma protein associated with immune processes. All antibodies are immunoglobulins, but not all immunoglobulins perform the antibody function.


Device that regulates the optimum temperature, humidity and ventilation to preserve and grow microbiological and cell cultures in a laboratory. Essential for much experimental work in biology, and in pharmaceutical, hematological and biochemical studies, among others.


Introduce into an organism a substance that contains the germ of a disease.



Conservation method that consists of conducting a sublimation process by dehydrating a substance through rapid freezing, and transforming the ice humidity into vapor by means of the application of vacuum.


A lyophilizer is a device used to perform lyophilization.



Specialized centrifuge used in a clinical laboratory for capillary tubes.

Microplate technique

Technique to observe agglutination, using plates with multiple wells which are used as small test tubes. This technique enables automation of the process and is used for large series of samples.



Nucleic Acid Testing: RNA and DNA tests to detect infectious viral agents based on the amplification of nucleic acid fragments.


Inflammation of the kidneys.


Graphic representation that enables rapid approximate numerical calculation (nomography).



The observable characteristics or traits of an organism that are produced by the interaction of the genotype and the environment.


Type of colorimeter. Instrument used in chemistry to determine concentration of substances dissolved in liquids or solids so long as they are transparent to visible, ultraviolet or infrared light, measuring and comparing their colors.


Device that measures light intensity.


Measurement of light intensity and of corresponding amplitudes.

Pipetting technique

Pipetting involves using a pipette to draw up a given quantity of liquid. The technique allows liquids to be dispensed quickly and accurately.


Liquid portion of uncoagulated blood, yellow in color, obtained after separating out the cellular elements. Contains water, electrolytes, proteins, fats and proteins.

Lyophilized plasma

Plasma that has undergone lyophilization to extend its shelf life.


Technique by which whole blood is extracted from a donor and processed to separate the white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets from the plasma. The blood cells are then returned to the donor, minus the plasma, which the body can replace rapidly.


Platelets, also referred to as thrombocytes, are tiny fragments of cytoplasm from very large cells called megakaryocytes. Platelets are formed from these large cells in the bone marrow and are released into the bloodstream, where they are essential for enabling normal blood coagulation.




Rh factor

The Rhesus (Rh) factor is an inherited protein found on the surface of red blood cells. A person is Rh+ if they possess this protein, and Rh– if they don't.


Instrument to vary the resistance of an electrical circuit.

Residual transfusion risk

Probability (mathematical or statistical) that the transfusion of a blood component might transmit an infectious agent (virus) after performing tests using direct or indirect detection methods, antigen methods or based on immune response elements.


Ribonucleic acid. This is a nucleic acid formed from a chain of ribonucleotides, present in eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, which participates in the intermediate stages of protein synthesis, following the program recorded in the genetic code.



Refers to a preliminary test or study.


Biological study of blood serum. Study of the antigen-antibody complexes in serum, to detect the presence of certain diseases.


Liquid portion of coagulated blood.


Device used to study the composition of the light emitted by a source.


Instrument combining the properties of a spectrometer and a photometer, used to determine the intensity of any range of wavelengths absorbed by a solution.


Measurement of the relative light intensity of simple emissions.


Optical instrument used to record the spectrum of a given emission.


Branch of physics that studies spectrums.


Distribution of the intensity of radiation as a function of a given magnitude, such as wavelength, energy or temperature.


Chemical substance derived from colorants, used in the treatment of several infectious diseases.


Capillary tube

Fluid conduit with an interior diameter similar to that of a hair. Can be made from a variety of materials: glass, copper, metal alloys, etc., depending on its use or application.

Blood typing

Analysis to determine ABO blood group and Rh type. It is always used before transfusion of blood or blood components and when blood is donated. It is also used on pregnant women to determine the risk of Rh incompatibility between mother and fetus.



Crystalline or colorless organic substance found primarily in the blood and urine. It is formed in the liver as an end product of metabolism and excreted in urine and sweat.


Vacuum gauge

A vacuum gauge is a device used to measure the pressure and vacuum in specific spaces.

Artificial vision

This is the process of obtaining, describing and interpreting information from images.

Reference works consulted

Clínica Universidad de Navarra. (2020). Diccionario médico. Consulted at

Diccionario médico. (2020). Diccionario Enciclopedia médica y terminología médica. Consulted at

MedlinePlus. (2020). A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. Consulted at

Merriam-Webster. (2020). Dictionary. Consulted at

Merriam-Webster. (2020). Medical Dictionary. Consulted at (2020). Medicopedia, el Diccionario Médico Interactivo. Consulted at

Real Academia Española. (2014). Diccionario de la lengua española (23rd ed.). Consulted at