Cryopreservation is a process where cells or whole tissues are preserved by cooling to low sub-zero temperatures, such as (typically) 77 K or -196 °C (the boiling point of liquid nitro
gen). At these low temperatures, any biological activity, including the biochemical reactions that would lead to cell death, is effectively stopped. However, when vitrification solutions are not used, the cells being preserved are often damaged due to freezing during the approach to low temperatures or warming to room temperature.
- Solution effects
- Extracellular ice formation
- Intracellular ice formation
- Prevention of risks
- Freezable tissues
Risks : -
Phenomena which can cause damage to cells during cryopreservation are solution effects, extracellular ice formation, dehydration and intracellular ice formation.
Solution effects : -
Solution effects caused by concentration of solutes in non-frozen solution during freezing as solutes are excluded from the crystal structure of the ice. High concentrations can be very damaging.
Extracellular ice formation : -
When tissues are cooled slowly, water migrates out of cells and ice forms in the extracellular space. Too much extracellular ice can cause mechanical damage due to crushing
Dehydration : -
The migration of water causing extracellular ice formation can also cause cellular dehydration. The associated stresses on the cell can cause damage directly.
Intracellular ice formation : -
While some organisms and tissues can tolerate some extracellular ice, any appreciable intracellular ice is almost always fatal to cells.
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