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Cryobiology. 2003 Aug;47(1):44-58.

Caspase-mediated apoptosis and cell death of rhesus macaque CD4+ T-cells due to cryopreservation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells can be rescued by cytokine treatment after thawing.

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Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


Cryopreservation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from animal model studies and clinical trials is utilized as a primary method for long-term storage of PBMC for future in vitro and in vivo applications. The objective of this study was to define the mechanistic pathways involved in cryopreservation-induced apoptosis of CD4+ T-cells in PBMC, and to evaluate a cytokine treatment of the cryopreserved samples to rescue apoptosis for the potential future use of the cryopreserved PBMC. Using cryopreserved PBMC samples isolated from naïve and Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected rhesus macaques as a model, frozen PBMC showed significantly increased levels of apoptosis-induced CD4+ T-cell death compared to fresh PBMC over a 5-day culture period as detected by Annexin V/PI and trypan blue staining. Mechanistic studies using a broad-spectrum caspase inhibitor z-VAD demonstrated a crucial involvement of caspases in cryopreservation-induced apoptosis of CD4+ T-cells. Furthermore, the ability of z-VAD to inhibit both mitochondrial membrane perturbation and apoptotic cell death implicated the involvement of caspase-mediated mitochondrial membrane damage in cryopreservation-induced apoptosis of CD4+ T-cells. Due to their known properties to promote T-cell survival and inhibit apoptosis, we evaluated the ability of IL-2, IL-4, and IL-7 combination cytokine treatment of the cryopreserved cells to rescue apoptosis of the CD4+ T-cells. The cytokine treatment resulted in a significant inhibition (p<0.01) of apoptosis-induced cell death and rescued CD4+ T-cell survival (p<0.01) in the cryopreserved cells. Efficient rescue of cryopreserved CD4+ T-cells has clinical significance in immune function analysis of longitudinal samples and in various long-term protocols requiring cryopreservation, including bone marrow and stem cell transplantation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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