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IInnocuous Intracellular Ice Improves Survival of Frozen Cells

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Extensive efforts to avoid intracellular ice formation (IIF) during freezing have been central to current methods used for the preservation and long-term storage of cells and tissues. In this study, we examined the effect of intracellular ice formation on the postthaw survival of V-79W fibroblast and MDCK epithelial cells using convection cryomicroscopy and controlled-rate freezing. V-79W and MDCK cells were cultured as single attached cells or as confluent cell monolayers. Postthaw cell survival was assessed using three different indices: the presence of an intact plasma membrane, the ability to reduce alamarBlue, and the capacity to form colonies in culture. Regulating the isothermal nucleation temperature was used to control the incidence of IIF in the model systems. We report that the presence of intracellular ice in confluent monolayers at high subzero temperatures does not adversely affect postthaw cell survival. Further, we show that in the absence of chemical cryoprotectants, the formation of intracellular ice alone improves the postthaw survival of cultured V-79W fibroblast and MDCK epithelial cells. Improved long-term storage of cells and tissues will result by incorporating innocuous intracellular ice formation into current strategies for cryopreservation.
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Keywords: Intracellular ice for; Key words: Cryopreservation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2R8 Canada

Publication date: 2002-06-01

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