Cryopreservation of human platelets using dimethyl sulfoxide and glycerol-glucose: effects on "in vitro" platelet function

Haematologica. 1993 Mar-Apr;78(2):101-4.


Background: The technique of freezing blood platelets could be very useful in the transfusion support of thrombocytopenic patients. The best method of platelet cryopreservation still remains an object of debate, though it has been suggested that dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is more effective than glycerol-glucose as a cryopreservative. However, few studies have directly compared platelets cryopreserved with different methods.

Methods: We compared "in vitro" function of platelets cryopreserved with 5% dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) or 3% glycerol-glucose at -140 degrees C. Platelet aggregation and release reaction were studied with a Lumi aggregometer, thromboxane B2 (TxB2) production by radioimmunoassay, and Ca++ movement by the Fura 2 method.

Results: Cryopreservation with both of the methods dramatically reduced the ability of platelets to release ATP and to aggregate in response to single agonists. In contrast, cryopreserved platelets maintained their ability to aggregate after stimulation with paired agonists and to produce TxB2. Cytoplasmic Ca++ increase induced by thrombin was observed in the glycerol-preserved platelets, while it was nearly absent in the DMSO-preserved ones.

Conclusions: We suggest that cryopreservation with glycerol-glucose or DMSO induces similar defects of platelet function. The damage is severe, but platelets are still able to respond to strong stimulation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Blood Platelets* / drug effects
  • Blood Platelets* / physiology
  • Blood Preservation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cryopreservation*
  • Cryoprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / pharmacology*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Glucose / pharmacology*
  • Glycerol / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Platelet Function Tests


  • Cryoprotective Agents
  • Glucose
  • Glycerol
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide