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Cryopreservation is generally performed on cells in suspension. In the case of adherent cells such as hepatocytes, a loss of their ability to attach is a more serious problem than a decreased viability after cryopreservation. We herein report a novel technology of direct in situ cryopreservation of cells cultured on collagen vitrigel membranes, which have excellent mechanical strength and can be easily handled by tweezers even when coated with cultured cells. Rat primary hepatocytes, mitomycin C-treated mouse fibroblasts (feeder cells for ES cells), and mouse ES cells on the feeder cells were cultured on collagen vitrigel membranes for 1 day. The membranes with cells attached were then plucked up from the dish, soaked in cryopreservation medium containing 10% dimethyl sulfoxide, frozen using a controlled-rate freezer, and transferred to liquid nitrogen. The cells cultured on plastic cell culture dishes were also frozen as controls. After storage in liquid nitrogen for periods from 1 week to 3 months, the cryopreserved membranes with the cells still attached were thawed by adding warmed culture medium. Cell viability estimated by morphology and functional staining with calcein showed significant improvement in comparison to cells cryopreserved without the collagen vitrigel membrane. The recoveries of living cells after cryopreservation were 26.7%, 76.2%, and 58.6% for rat hepatocytes, mitomycin C-treated mouse fibroblasts, and mouse ES cells on collagen vitrigel membranes, respectively. In contrast, essentially no cells at all remained on the plastic cell culture dishes after thawing. Because adherent cell storage under these conditions is very convenient, the use of this technique employing collagen vitrigel membranes should be generally applicable to the cryopreservation of adherent cells that are otherwise problematic to store as frozen stocks.
Department of Innovative Surgery, National Research Institute for Child Health and Development, Tokyo, Japan; Transgenic Animal Research Center, National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, Ibaraki, Japan
Publication date: May 1, 2009
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Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.