A molecular basis of cryopreservation failure and its modulation to improve cell survival

Cell Transplant. 2001;10(7):561-71.


The requirement for more effective cryopreservation (CP) methodologies in support of the emerging fields of cell bioprocessing and cell therapy is now critical. Current CP strategies appropriately focus on minimizing the damaging actions of physicochemical stressors and membrane disruption associated with extra- and intracellular ice formation that occurs during the freeze-thaw process. CP protocols derived from this conceptual paradigm, however, yield suboptimal survival rates. We now provide the first report on the identification of delayed-onset cell death following CP and the significance of modulating molecular biological aspects of the cellular responses (apoptosis) to low temperature as an essential component to improve postthaw outcome. In this study we quantitatively examined the molecular basis of cell death associated with CP failure in a canine renal cell model. In addition, we report on the significant improvement in CP outcome through the modulation of these molecular mechanisms by the utilization of an organ preservation solution. HypoThermosol. Further, the utilization of HypoThermosol as the preservation medium and the modulation of molecular-based cell death have led to a paradigm shift in biologic preservation methodologies. The recognition of molecular mechanisms associated with CP-induced cell death offers the promise of improved CP of more complex and/or fragile biological systems such as stem cells, engineered tissues, and human organs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Annexin A5 / analysis
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Cell Line / cytology
  • Cell Line / transplantation
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Cryopreservation / methods*
  • Cryoprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Culture Media / pharmacology
  • Endopeptidases / metabolism
  • Extracellular Space
  • Kidney / cytology


  • Annexin A5
  • Cryoprotective Agents
  • Culture Media
  • Endopeptidases
  • CASP3 protein, human
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspases