Measurement of Intracellular Ice Formation Kinetics by High-Speed Video Cryomicroscopy

  • Jens O. M. KarlssonEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1257)


Quantitative information about the kinetics and cumulative probability of intracellular ice formation is necessary to develop minimally damaging freezing procedures for the cryopreservation of cells and tissue. Conventional cryomicroscopic assays, which rely on indirect evidence of intracellular freezing (e.g., opacity changes in the cell cytoplasm), can yield significant errors in the estimated kinetics. In contrast, the formation and growth of intracellular ice crystals can be accurately detected using temporally resolved imaging methods (i.e., video recording at sub-millisecond resolution). Here, detailed methods for the setup and operation of a high-speed video cryomicroscope system are described, including protocols for imaging of intracellular ice crystallization events, and stochastic analysis of the ice formation kinetics in a cell population. Recommendations are provided for temperature profile design, sample preparation, and configuration of the video acquisition parameters. Throughout this chapter, the protocols incorporate best practices that have been drawn from over a decade of experience with high-speed video cryomicroscopy in our laboratory.

Key words

Cryomicroscope High-speed imaging Ultra-slow motion Intracellular ice formation Flashing Nucleation Kinetics Cumulative probability Cumulative hazard Nelson-Aalen estimator 



The author gratefully acknowledges Peter Grocutt of Linkam Scientific Instruments for valuable discussions and technical support during the development of the high-speed video cryomicroscopy system and during the writing of this chapter. This work was supported by National Science Foundation grant CBET-1066619.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringVillanova UniversityVillanovaUSA

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