Tissue slices may provide a rapid and economical way of determining cold ischemic effects on human liver and kidney cell viability and metabolism. In contrast to isolated hepatocyte cultures, tissue slices offer an in vitro system which more closely resembles the in vivo situation because of the differentiation and functional heterogeneity of the slice. In this study, human liver and kidney slices were cold stored for 10 days in Belzers University of Wisconsin (UW), Euro-Collins, and Modified Sacks solutions. Another set of slices was cryopreserved at 1 degree C/min for liver and 12 degrees C/min for kidney using a 10% dimethyl sulfoxide/fetal calf serum (FCS) cryoprotectant solution. The cold- and cryopreserved slices were incubated in roller culture for 4 h using FCS as the media. Liver slice viability was assessed by K+ content, protein synthesis, gluconeogenesis, and urea synthesis. Kidney slice viability was assessed using K+ content, protein synthesis, and organic ion transport (PAH and TEA). Human kidney slices were cold preserved in UW for 4-6 days, while the human liver slices were preserved for 12-24 h depending on the viability parameter. Following cryopreservation, human liver slice viability was retained at between 65 and 90% of control values, while kidney slice viability was maintained between 70 and 90% of control values depending on the viability parameter. These results indicate that this human in vitro tissue slice system can be used to optimize preservation solutions and methods. The ability to cold- and cryopreserve human slices could facilitate the more efficient utilization of human tissue.