Membrane Stability during Biopreservation of Blood Cells.
ABSTRACT SUMMARY: Storage methods, which can be taken into consideration for red blood cells and platelets, include liquid storage, cryopreservation and freeze-drying. Red blood cells can be hypothermically stored at refrigerated temperatures, whereas platelets are chilling sensitive and therefore cannot be stored at temperatures below 20 °C. Here we give an overview of available cryopreservation and freeze-drying procedures for blood cells and discuss the effects of these procedures on cells, particularly on cellular membranes. Cryopreservation and freeze-drying may result in chemical and structural modifications of cellular membranes. Membranes undergo phase and permeability changes during freezing and drying. Cryo- and lyoprotective agents prevent membrane damage by different mechanisms. Cryoprotective agents are preferentially excluded from membrane surfaces. They decrease the activation energy for water transport during freezing and control the rate of cellular dehydration. Lyoprotectants are thought to stabilize membranes during drying by forming direct hydrogen bonding interactions with phospholipid head groups. In addition, lyoprotectants can form a glassy state at room temperature. Recently liposomes have been investigated to stabilize blood cells during freezing and freeze-drying. Liposomes modify the composition of cellular membranes by lipid and cholesterol transfer, which can stabilize or destabilize the low temperature response of cells.