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Carbohydrate-mediated inhibition of ice recrystallization in cryopreserved human umbilical cord blood

Wu, Luke K., Tokarew, Jacqueline M., Chaytor, Jennifer L., von Moos, Elizabeth, Li, Yuhua, Palii, Carmen, Ben, Robert N., Allan, David S.
Carbohydrate research 2011 v.346 no.1 pp. 86-93
apoptosis, blood, carbohydrates, cell viability, cryopreservation, cryoprotectants, crystallization, dimethyl sulfoxide, flow cytometry, humans, stem cells, umbilical cord
Cryopreservation of human umbilical cord blood (UCB) typically involves the cryoprotectant dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO), however, infusional toxicity and reductions in cell viability remain a concern. Ice recrystallization (IR) is an important source of cryopreservation-induced cellular injury and limits the stem cell dose in UCB units. Carbohydrates have wide-ranging intrinsic IR inhibition (IRI) activity related to structural properties. We investigated the impact of carbohydrate IRI on cell viability, induction of apoptosis and hematopoietic progenitor function in cryopreserved UCB. Mononuclear cells (MNCs) from UCB were cryopreserved in storage media containing specific carbohydrates (200mM) and compared to 5% DMSO. Samples were analyzed under conditions of high IR (‘slow’ thaw) and low IR (‘fast’ thaw). Thawed samples were analyzed for viability and apoptosis by flow cytometry and hematopoietic function using colony-forming unit (CFU) assays. IRI of carbohydrate solutions was determined using the ‘splat cooling’ assay. Greater IRI capacity of carbohydrates correlated with increased yield of viable MNCs (r²=0.92, p=0.004) and CD34(+) cells (r²=0.96, p=0.019) after thawing under conditions of high IR. The correlations were less apparent under conditions of low IR. Carbohydrates with greater IRI modulate the induction of early apoptosis during thawing, especially in CD34+ cells (r²=0.96, p=0.0001) as compared to total mononuclear cells (p=0.006), and preserve CFU capacity in vitro (r²=0.92, p=<0.0001). Our results suggest that carbohydrates with potent IRI increase the yield of non-apoptotic and functional hematopoietic progenitors and provide a foundation for the development of novel synthetic carbohydrates with enhanced IRI properties to improve cryopreservation of UCB.