Two types of mi RNA increased in number during storage and two declined, said graduate student Wen-Hsuan Yang, who performed the biochemistry experiments.
One of the forms that declined, called mi R-70, had the most dramatic and consistent changes.
Autologous blood doping, in which an athlete is transfused with their own stored red blood cells to increase their oxygen capacity for competition, might be detectable now with the use of a micro RNA marker of blood aging.
The procedure is laid out in a new paper in by Sergei Iljukov, an anti-doping expert at the Research Institute for Olympic Sports in Finland, and his colleagues.
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But those changes have not been precise enough to detect an autologous transfusion.
What Chi and his colleagues looked at in the red blood cells is nucleic acids, specifically RNA.