Directional freezing for the cryopreservation of adherent mammalian cells on a substrate

Liat Bahari, Amir Bein, Victor Yashunsky, Ido Braslavsky

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29 Scopus citations


Successfully cryopreserving cells adhered to a substrate would facilitate the growth of a vital confluent cell culture after thawing while dramatically shortening the post-thaw culturing time. Herein we propose a controlled slow cooling method combining initial directional freezing followed by gradual cooling down to -80C for robust preservation of cell monolayers adherent to a substrate. Using computer controlled cryostages we examined the effect of cooling rates and dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) concentration on cell survival and established an optimal cryopreservation protocol. Experimental results show the highest post-thawing viability for directional ice growth at a speed of 30 μm/sec (equivalent to freezing rate of 3.8C/min), followed by gradual cooling of the sample with decreasing rate of 0.5C/min. Efficient cryopreservation of three widely used epithelial cell lines: IEC-18, HeLa, and Caco-2, provides proof-of-concept support for this new freezing protocol applied to adherent cells. This method is highly reproducible, significantly increases the post-thaw cell viability and can be readily applied for cryopreservation of cellular cultures in microfluidic devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0192265
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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