The individual-cell-based cryo-chip for the cryopreservation, manipulation and observation of spatially identifiable cells. I: Methodology

Mordechai Deutsch, Elena Afrimzon, Yaniv Namer, Yana Shafran, Maria Sobolev, Naomi Zurgil, Assaf Deutsch, Steffen Howitz, Martin Greuner, Michael Thaele, Heiko Zimmermann, Ina Meiser, Friederike Ehrhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Cryopreservation is the only widely applicable method of storing vital cells for nearly unlimited periods of time. Successful cryopreservation is essential for reproductive medicine, stem cell research, cord blood storage and related biomedical areas. The methods currently used to retrieve a specific cell or a group of individual cells with specific biological properties after cryopreservation are quite complicated and inefficient.Results: The present study suggests a new approach in cryopreservation, utilizing the Individual Cell-based Cryo-Chip (i3C). The i3C is made of materials having appropriate durability for cryopreservation conditions. The core of this approach is an array of picowells, each picowell designed to maintain an individual cell during the severe conditions of the freezing - thawing cycle and accompanying treatments. More than 97% of cells were found to retain their position in the picowells throughout the entire freezing - thawing cycle and medium exchange. Thus the comparison between pre-freezing and post-thawing data can be achieved at an individual cell resolution. The intactness of cells undergoing slow freezing and thawing, while residing in the i3C, was found to be similar to that obtained with micro-vials. However, in a fast freezing protocol, the i3C was found to be far superior.Conclusions: The results of the present study offer new opportunities for cryopreservation. Using the present methodology, the cryopreservation of individual identifiable cells, and their observation and retrieval, at an individual cell resolution become possible for the first time. This approach facilitates the correlation between cell characteristics before and after the freezing - thawing cycle. Thus, it is expected to significantly enhance current cryopreservation procedures for successful regenerative and reproductive medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Article number54
JournalBMC Cell Biology
StatePublished - 7 Jul 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully thank Professor Orian Shirihai from Boston University, Obesity Research Center, Department of Medicine, USA, and Dr. Sarah Haigh from WBT for performing cell retrieval. We gratefully acknowledge BMBF for funding (0315029A, provided to HZ) and the Office of the Chief Scientist in the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor for their approval (#5383). We thank Mr. Sergei Moshkov for the technical support and Mr. Ilia Stambler for the manuscript editing.


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