Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) represent an invaluable asset for the field of cell therapy. Human Bone marrow-derived MSCs (hBM-MSCs) are one of the most commonly used cell types in clinical trials. They are currently being studied and tested for the treatment of a wide range of diseases and conditions. The future availability of MSCs therapies to the public will require a robust and reliable delivery process. Cryopreservation represents the gold standard in cell storage and transportation, but its effect on BM-MSCs is still not well established. A systematic review was conducted to evaluate the impact of cryopreservation on BM-MSCs and to attempt to uncover the reasons behind some of the controversial results reported in the literature. Forty-one in vitro studies were analysed, and their results organised according to the cell attributes they assess. It was concluded that cryopreservation does not affect BM-MSCs morphology, surface marker expression, differentiation or proliferation potential. However, mixed results exist regarding the effect on colony forming ability and the effects on viability, attachment and migration, genomic stability and paracrine function are undefined mainly due to the huge variabilities governing the cryopreservation process as a whole and to the lack of standardised assays.
Keywords: Bone-marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells; Cell therapy; Cryopreservation; Mesenchymal stem cells; Systematic review; Tissue culture.