Human and mouse oligodendrocytes were transplanted, after a long period of cryostorage, into newborn mouse brain. Tissue fragments were obtained from brain and spinal cord of 10-week-old human fetuses and from the periventricular zone of embryonic and newborn mouse brains. Samples were stored at -180 degrees C for periods of 3 days to over 5 years. Frozen or fresh fragments were transplanted into the brains of newborn shiverer mutant mice, which are deficient in myelin basic protein (MBP). Normal myelin, produced by grafted oligodendrocytes, was detected by immunohistochemistry with an anti-MBP antiserum. The best results were obtained with isospecific grafts. The timing of myelin appearance did not depend significantly on the species or age of the donor. Myelination obtained with mouse grafts was more profuse when the donor was younger (embryonic versus newborn). Cryopreservation over 5 years did not impede the graft's ability to produce myelin and can be considered for long-term storage of oligodendrocytes in view of cell therapy.