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Haematologica. 1998 Nov;83(11):1001-5.

Controlled-rate versus uncontrolled-rate cryopreservation of peripheral blood progenitor cells: a prospective multicenter study. Group for Cryobiology and Biology of Bone Marrow Transplantation (CBTMO), Spain.

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  • 1Department of Hematology, Hospital Ramon y Cajal, Madrid, Spain. jaime.perez@hrc.es



Cryopreservation of hemopoietic progenitors for transplantation has been traditionally performed by the use of a controlled-rate freezer. Several groups have reported successful cryopreservation of progenitor cells at -80 degrees C without a controlled-rate freezer. In an attempt to elucidate whether both methods are equally efficient, we compared controlled-rate versus uncontrolled cryopreservation of peripheral blood progenitor cells (PBPC) in a prospective, multicenter study.


Apheresis products from patients undergoing PBPC mobilization were split into two aliquots, and cryopreserved simultaneously by both methods, in autologous plasma plus 10% dimethylsulfoxide. Controlled-rate samples were placed into a programmable freezer with a cooling rate of 1-2 degrees C/min. Uncontrolled-rate samples were directly introduced into a -80 degrees C mechanical freezer. After thawing, cell counts, assays for viability, clonogenic cultures and CD34+ cell enumeration were performed.


A total of 105 cases were included. No significant differences were found in viability (mean 88.8 +/- 13% in the controlled-rate group vs. 89.7 +/- 12% in the uncontrolled-rate group), nucleated cell loss (23.5 +/- 23% vs. 23 +/- 22%), mononuclear cell loss (19 +/- 23% vs. 19.1 +/- 22%), and loss of CD34+ cells (34.3 +/- 33% vs. 28.6 +/- 34%). On the other hand, recovery of granulomonocytic colony-forming units (CFU-GM), was significantly better with the controlled-rate technique, than with the non-controlled-rate method (104.3 +/- 95 vs. 86.5 +/- 80, respectively; p = 0.048).


Our results indicate that both techniques are suitable for cryopreservation of PBPC, although a better recovery of committed progenitors is achieved by the controlled-rate method. Therefore, the use of controlled-rate freezer should probably be recommended.

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