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Open Access Biological and Physicochemical Characterization of a Serum- and Xeno-Free Chemically Defined Cryopreservation Procedure for Adult Human Progenitor Cells

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While therapeutic cell transplantations using progenitor cells are increasingly evolving towards phase I and II clinical trials and chemically defined cell culture is established, standardization in biobanking is still in the stage of infancy. In this study, the EU FP6-funded CRYSTAL (CRYo-banking of Stem cells for human Therapeutic AppLication) consortium aimed to validate novel Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to perform and validate xeno-free and chemically defined cryopreservation of human progenitor cells and to reduce the amount of the potentially toxic cryoprotectant additive (CPA) dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). To achieve this goal, three human adult progenitor and stem cell populations—umbilical cord blood (UCB)-derived erythroid cells (UCB-ECs), UCB-derived endothelial colony forming cells (UCB-ECFCs), and adipose tissue (AT)-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (AT-MSCs)—were cryopreserved in chemically defined medium supplemented with 10% or 5% DMSO. Cell recovery, cell repopulation, and functionality were evaluated postthaw in comparison to cryopreservation in standard fetal bovine serum (FBS)-containing freezing medium. Even with a reduction of the DMSO CPA to 5%, postthaw cell count and viability assays indicated no overall significant difference versus standard cryomedium. Additionally, to compare cellular morphology/membrane integrity and ice crystal formation during cryopreservation, multiphoton laser-scanning cryomicroscopy (cryo-MPLSM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used. Neither cryo-MPLSM nor SEM indicated differences in membrane integrity for the tested cell populations under various conditions. Moreover, no influence was observed on functional properties of the cells following cryopreservation in chemically defined freezing medium, except for UCB-ECs, which showed a significantly reduced differentiation capacity after cryopreservation in chemically defined medium supplemented with 5% DMSO. In summary, these results demonstrate the feasibility and robustness of standardized xeno-free cryopreservation of different human progenitor cells and encourage their use even more in the field of tissue-engineering and regenerative medicine.

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Keywords: Chemically defined; Cryomicroscopy; Cryopreservation; Current good manufacturing practice; Human progenitor and mesenchymal stem cells; Serum free; Xeno free

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-08-01

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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.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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