Cryopreservation of neutrophil granulocytes

Neutrophil granulocytes are part of the immune system of vertebrates. They are of particular importance for research because they enable the investigation of many immunological and infection biological issues in vitro. They are also used in the field of transfusion medicine for the treatment of infections in defenseless individuals.

The use of these cells is limited by the fact that their functionality changes substantially in a relatively short time during in vitro cultivation, so that characteristic features, such as the release of reactive oxygen species to eliminate pathogens that no longer correspond to the native state or are completely lost. Accordingly, one is limited to a relatively small time window in which the cell samples can be used scientifically or therapeutically.

The method of cryopreservation basically offers the possibility of an almost unlimited storage of vital and functionally unchanged cells. Using standard protocols, many cell types can be preserved in a freeze-protection medium by controlled freezing and can be transferred back into the cell culture unchanged even after very long periods of time. In the case of neutrophils, freezing according to the current state of the art results in comparatively severe damage to the cell material. For this reason, it is important to create methods that map the optimal cell type-specific and perhaps also individual conditions for controlled freezing.

In this context, we use experimental and statistical methods to investigate the effect of different influencing factors in cryopreservation on the quality and functionality of neutrophils. The possibility of long-term storage and improved maintenance of vitality and functionality open up the prospect of a systematic collection of functional cells, are intended to increase the potential uses of neutrophils in research and also include the potential for improved clinical application.