ObjectivePreservation of biological materials at subzero Centigrade temperatures, cryopreservation, is important for the field of tissue engineering and organ transplantation. Our group is studying the use of isochoric (constant volume) systems of aqueous solution for cryopreservation. Previous studies measured the pressure-temperature relations in aqueous isochoric systems in the temperature range from 0°C to - 20°C. The goal of this study is to expand the pressure-temperature measurement beyond the range reported in previous publications.
Materials and methodsTo expand the pressure-temperature measurements beyond the previous range, we have developed a new isochoric device capable of withstanding liquid nitrogen temperatures and pressures of up to 413 MPa. The device is instrumented with a pressure transducer than can monitor and record the pressures in the isochoric chamber in real time. Measurements were made in a temperature range from - 5°C to liquid nitrogen temperatures for various solutions of pure water and Me2SO (a chemical additive used for protection of biological materials in a frozen state and for vitrification (glass formation) of biological matter). Undissolved gaseous are is carefully removed from the system.
ResultsTemperature-pressure data from - 5°C to liquid nitrogen temperature for pure water and other solutions are presented in this study. Following are examples of some, temperature-pressure values, that were measured in an isochoric system containing pure water: (- 20°C, 187 MPa); (-25°C, 216 MPa); (- 30°C, 242.3 MPa); (-180°C, 124 MPa). The data is consistent with the literature, which reports that the pressure and temperature at the triple point, between ice I, ice III and water is, - 21.993°C and 209.9 MPa, respectively. It was surprising to find that the pressure in the isochoric system increases at temperatures below the triple point and remains high to liquid nitrogen temperatures. Measurements of pressure-temperature relations in solutions of pure water and Me2SO in different concentrations show that, for concentrations in which vitrification is predicted, no increase in pressure was measured during rapid cooling to liquid nitrogen temperatures. However, ice formation either during cooling or warming to and from liquid nitrogen temperatures produced an increase in pressure.
ConclusionsThe data obtained in this study can be used to aid in the design of isochoric cryopreservation protocols. The results suggest that the pressure measurement is important in the design of "constant volume" systems and can provide a simple means to gain information on the occurrence of vitrification and devitrification during cryopreservation processes of aqueous solutions in an isochoric system.