Calorimetric measurement of water transport and intracellular ice formation during freezing in cell suspensions

Shoji Mori, Jeunghwan Choi, Ram V. Devireddy, John C. Bischof

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29 Citations (Scopus)


The current study presents a new and novel analysis of heat release signatures measured by a differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) associated with water transport (WT), intracellular ice formation (IIF) and extracellular ice formation (EIF). Correlative cryomicroscopy experiments were also performed to validate the DSC data. The DSC and cryomicroscopy experiments were performed on human dermal fibroblast cells (HDFs) at various cytocrit values (0-0.8) at various cooling rates (0.5-250°C/min). A comparison of the cryomicroscopy experiments with the DSC analysis show reasonable agreement in the water transport (cellular dehydration) and IIF characteristics between both the techniques with the caveat that IIF measured by DSC lagged that measured by cryomicroscopy. This was ascribed to differences in the techniques (i.e. cell vs. bulk measurement) and the possibility that not all IIF is associated with visual darkening. High and low rates of 0.5°C/min and 250°C/min were chosen as HDFs did not exhibit significant IIF or WT at each of these extremes respectively. Analysis of post-thaw viability data suggested that 10°C/min was the presumptive optimal cooling rate for HDFs and was independent of the cytocrit value. The ratio of measured heat values associated with IIF (qIIF) to the total heat released from both IIF and water transport or from the total cell water content in the sample (qCW) was also found to increase as the cooling rate was increased from 10 to 250°C/min and was independent of the sample cytocrit value. Taken together, these observations suggest that the proposed analysis is capable of deconvolving water transport and IIF data from the measured DSC latent heat thermograms in cell suspensions during freezing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-255
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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