Kinetic Study of Intracellular Ice Formation in Micropatterned Endothelial Cell Cultures Using High Speed Video Cryomicroscopy
Stott, Shannon Leigh
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Intracellular ice formation (IIF), a major cause of cryoinjury in biological cells, is significantly more pronounced during freezing of tissue than during freezing of suspended cells. While extensive studies of IIF have been conducted for single cells in suspension, few have investigated IIF in tissue. Due to the increased complexity that arises from both cell-substrate and cell-cell interactions in tissue, knowledge of cryobiology of isolated cells cannot simply be extrapolated to tissue. Different theories have been hypothesized for the mechanisms of IIF in tissue, but none have been conclusively proven. Towards the goal of developing mathematical models to accurately predict the probability of IIF in tissues of one or more cell types, we have developed a novel high-speed video cryomicroscopy system capable of image acquisition at sampling rates up to 32,000 Hz. Specifically, the effects of cell adhesion to the substrate and cell-cell interactions were investigated with experimental (micropatterned endothelial cell constructs) and mathematical models (Monte Carlo simulations). We have reported the first direct observations of the IIF process recorded at unprecedented sub-millisecond and sub-micron resolution. For the majority of our experiments, IIF nucleation was determined to occur preferentially at the cell perimeter. This observation was not consistent with the commonly accepted hypotheses of ice nucleation in suspended cells and suggests that an alternative mechanism of IIF initiation is dominant in adherent cells. In addition, the kinetics of ice nucleation were shown to be influenced by time in culture, attached cell perimeter, fibronectin coating density, and degree of cell-cell contact. Moreover, an additional phenomenon, paracellular ice penetration was identified, and the frequency of formation was correlated with focal adhesion formation. The data and mathematical models presented in this thesis bring closer the goal of elucidating the primary mechanisms contributing to IIF in tissue; providing important contributions to both the fields of cryopreservation (minimizing IIF) and cryosurgery (maximizing IIF).