Optimal thawing of cryopreserved peripheral blood mononuclear cells for use in high-throughput human immune monitoring studies
Ramachandran, H.; Laux, J.; Moldovan, I.; Caspell, R.; Lehmann, P.V.; Subbramanian, R.A.
Cells 1(3): 313-324
Cryopreserved peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) constitute an important component of immune monitoring studies as they allow for efficient batch- testing of samples as well as for the validation and extension of original studies in the future. In this study, we systematically test the permutations of PBMC thawing practices commonly employed in the field and identify conditions that are high and low risk for the viability of PBMC and their functionality in downstream ELISPOT assays. The study identifies the addition of ice-chilled washing media to thawed cells at the same temperature as being a high risk practice, as it yields significantly lower viability and functionality of recovered PBMC when compared to warming the cryovials to 37 °C and adding a warm washing medium. We found thawed PBMC in cryovials could be kept up to 30 minutes at 37 °C in the presence of DMSO before commencement of washing, which surprisingly identifies exposure to DMSO as a low risk step during the thawing process. This latter finding is of considerable practical relevance since it permits batch-thawing of PBMC in high-throughput immune monitoring environments.