Optimal conditions for the preservation of mouse lymph node cells in liquid nitrogen using cooling rate techniques

P. E. Thorpe, Stella C. Knight, J. Farrant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


The factors that affect the survival of mouse lymphocytes throughout a procedure for storage at -196 °C have been studied both for the improvement of recovery and the possible extension to the mouse system of cell selection by freezing. After thawing, the survival of cells cooled at different rates in dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO, 5 or 10%, v v) was assessed from the [3H]thymidine incorporation in response to phytohaemagglutinin and concanavalin A. Before freezing the protection against freezing damage increased with time (up to 20 min) in DMSO (5%, v v) at 0 °C. Superimposed upon this effect was toxicity due to the DMSO. During freezing and thawing the cooling rate giving optimal survival was 8 to 15 °C/min for cells in DMSO (5%) and 1 to 3 °C/min for DMSO (10%). Omission of foetal calf serum was detrimental. Rapid thawing (>2.5 °C/min) was superior to slow thawing. After thawing dilution at 25 or 37 °C greatly improved cell survival compared with 0 °C; at 25 °C survival was optimal (75%) at a moderate dilution rate of 2.5 min for a 10-fold dilution in FCS (10%, v v) followed by gentle centrifugation (50g). Dilution damage during both thawing and post-thaw dilution may be due to osmotic swelling as DMSO and normally excluded solutes leave the cell. The susceptibility of the cell membrane to dilution damage may also be increased during freezing. The need to thaw rapidly and dilute at 25 °C after thawing is probably due to a decrease in dilution stress at higher temperatures. Optimisation of dilution procedures both maximised recovery and also widened the range of cooling rates over which the cells were recovered. These conditions increase the possibility of obtaining good recovery of a mixed cell population using a single cooling procedure. Alternatively, if cell types have different optimal cooling rates, stressful dilution may allow their selection from mixed cell populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-133
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1976

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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