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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cryopreservation does not affect proliferation and multipotency of murine neural precursor cells.

Stem cell research offers unique opportunities for developing new medical therapies for devastating diseases and a new way to explore fundamental questions of biology. Establishing an efficient freezing protocol for neural precursor cells (NPCs) is of great importance for advances in cell-based therapies. We used fluorescence-activated cell sorter-based cell death/survival analysis and Western blot analysis of proliferation markers (proliferating cell nuclear antigen) and prosurvival proteins (Bcl-2) to study the effect of a variety of cryoprotective agents on fetal mouse forebrain NPCs. Neurospheres frozen at -70 degrees C or in liquid nitrogen in a rate-controlled manner and thawed after 5 days retained viability of 60%-70% measured 24 hours after thawing. However, 1 week after thawing, viability dropped to 50%-60%. Using a clonogenic sphere formation assay, we showed that recovery rate of frozen NPCs was approximately 26% and did not significantly differ between dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO)- and glycerol-supplemented samples. Application of the caspase inhibitor zVAD-fmk during freezing or in the first week after thawing resulted in protection of cryopreserved neurospheres after thawing but not during the freezing process, indicating that apoptosis limits recovery of NPCs. Cell survival was not reduced in cells that were enzymatically separated before cryopreservation. Optimal protection of NPCs was achieved when 10% DMSO alone or in a combination with 10% fetal calf serum (FCS) was used. However, 10% glycerol alone was equally effective. Using these protocols, NPCs retained their multipotency and differentiated into both glial (GFAP-positive) and neuronal (Tuj1-positive) cells. Percentage of Tuj1-positive cells in 5% and 10% DMSO, in 10% DMSO + 10% FCS, and in 10% glycerol remained at the same level as before freezing and varied from 5%-7%. We conclude that cryopreservation (up to 1 month at -70 degrees C and up to 1 year in liquid nitrogen) does not markedly alter the rate of proliferation and multipotency of murine neural precursor cells.[1]


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