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Cryo Letters. 2012 May-Jun;33(3):170-6.

Cryopreservation of human skeletal muscle impairs mitochondrial function.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Previous studies have investigated if cryopreservation is a viable approach for functional mitochondrial analysis. Different tissues have been studied, and conflicting results have been published. The aim of the present study was to investigate if mitochondria in human skeletal muscle maintain functionality after long term cryopreservation (1 year). Skeletal muscle samples were preserved in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) for later analysis. Human skeletal muscle fibres were thawed and permeabilised with saponin, and mitochondrial respiration was measured by high-resolution respirometry. The capacity of oxidative phosphorylation was significantly (P < 0.05) reduced in cryopreserved human skeletal muscle samples. Cryopreservation impaired respiration with substrates linked to Complex I more than for Complex II (P < 0.05). Addition of cytochrome c revealed an increase in respiration indicating cytochrome c loss from the mitochondria. The results from this study demonstrate that normal mitochondrial functionality is not maintained in cryopreserved human skeletal muscle samples.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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