, Volume 43, Issue 8-9, pp 269-275
Date: 19 Sep 2007

Serum-free solutions for cryopreservation of cells

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Abstract

With the development of cell-based assays and therapies, the purity of reagents used to grow and maintain cells has become much more important. In particular, the use of fetal calf serum for culturing cells presents a direct path for potential contamination of cell cultures. In recent years, much research has focused on the development of serum-free culturing systems, not only to alleviate difficulties due to availability and cost of fetal calf serum but also to prevent the transmission of potentially fatal diseases to human patients. Additionally, methods need to be developed for long-term storage of cell stocks that also reduce the risk of exposure to harmful diseases. As most methods employ fetal calf serum in their freezing formulations, solutions that avoid the use of fetal calf serum while providing equivalent or better recovery of cells upon thawing would be ideal. In this study, two vascular cell lines have been cryopreserved as adherent cell populations in two widely used cryoprotectants, dimethyl sulfoxide and 1,2-propanediol, and two vehicle solutions, Euro-Collins and Unisol-cryoprotectant vehicle specifically formulated for the maintenance of cell homeostasis at temperatures below 37° C. The addition of serum to these formulations was also evaluated to determine if its presence provided any additional benefit to the cells during cryopreservation. The results demonstrated that using vehicle solutions designed for lower temperatures produced viable cells that retained cell population viability values up to 75% of unfrozen controls. These results also demonstrated that including serum in the formulation provided no additional benefit to the cells and in some cases actually produced lower cell viability after cryopreservation. In conclusion, the development of solutions designed for low-temperature storage of cells provides a viable alternative to more conventional cryopreservation protocols and eliminates the necessity of including serum in these formulations.

Editor: J. Denry Sato