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Bone Marrow Transplant. 1996 Oct;18(4):725-31.

Optimal cryopreservation of human umbilical cord blood.

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  • 1Department of Transplantation Sciences, University of Bristol, UK.


Cryopreservation techniques for umbilical cord blood (UCB) have been based on methods established for marrow (BM) and peripheral blood progenitor cells (PBPC) with varying degrees of success. The aim of this study was to optimise cryopreservation of UCB haemopoietic cells based on sound cryopreservation principles. UCB samples were cryopreserved with different combinations of DMSO and hydroxyethyl starch (HES) by a variety of freezing protocols. After cooling at 1 degree C/min in solutions containing 4% HES and various concentrations of DMSO there was a dramatic fall in CD34+ recovery from 85.4% (s.d. 28.4) to 12.2% (s.d. 10.0) as DMSO concentration was reduced from 5 to 2.5%. Varying HES concentration in solutions containing 5% DMSO did not have a significant effect on CD34+ cell recovery. Increasing cooling rate from 1 to 10 degrees C/min significantly reduced CD34+ recovery (P < 0.0001) while increasing DMSO concentration up to 10% had little effect (P = 0.8, two-way ANOVA). Good recovery of UCB CD34+ cells can be achieved with 5-10% DMSO at a controlled cooling rate of 1 degrees C/min. There was a significant difference (P < 0.0001) in the apparent recovery of CD34+ cells between paired aliquots thawed in the presence (recovery = 76.8%, s.d. 26.0) and absence (32.5%, s.d. 18.7) of DNase. In conclusion, conditions for cryopreserving UCB for clinical banking that yield optimal recovery of CD34+ cells have been established.

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