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Thermal Expansion of Cryoprotective Agents

Combined with Synthetic Ice Modulators


The role of cryopreservation for tissue banking is undisputable, being the only practical alternative for long-term storage of high quality biomaterial. Successful techniques for cryopreservation have been developed for many cellular systems, but extrapolation to organized tissues and organs is fraught with additional problems that have only recently begun to be addressed. The principal challenges revolve around avoiding tissue damage from ice formation (the cornerstone of cryoinjury) and reducing thermo-mechanical stress, which may lead to structural damage. 


With recent promising results, the application of cryopreservation by means of vitrification (vitreous in Latin means glassy), where ice crystallization is suppressed, has become widely recognized as the only alternative for large-scale cryopreservation. However, cryopreservation by means of vitrification has its own difficulties, essentially resulting from toxicity effects associated with the high concentration of cryoprotective agents (CPAs) needed, and from the high thermo-mechanical stresses generated due to the high cooling rates required to promote vitrification. With the application of the so-called synthetic ice modulators (MIBs), successful large-scale cryopreservation via vitrification appears closer than ever before, where the concentration of the CPA can be significantly reduced, and the critical cooling rate to achieve vitrification is significantly lowered. However, the effect of the added SIBs on the developing thermo-mechanical stress is yet unknown, where the solid mechanics properties of the CPA-MIB cocktail are unexplored.


Exploring the effects of MIBs on thermal expansion of the cryopreservation cocktail is the subject matter of the current project, where thermal expansion is the driving mechanism of thermo-mechanical stress. In addition, results are being integrated into computer simulations of selected vitrification processes, to identify the significance of the measured property values. 


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This research is supported, in part, by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) NIH Grant # 1R21EB011751