Stability of cryopreserved white blood cells (WBCs) prepared for donor WBC infusions

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White blood cells (WBCs) collected from hematopoietic stem cell transplant donors are often given to the recipient to speed immune recovery or treat disease relapse. The postthaw recovery and viability of cryopreserved donor WBCs, stored for as long as 7 years, were assessed.


Total nucleated cell (TNC) cell recovery, CD3+ cell recovery, and TNC viability were measured in 311 clinical donor WBC products: 168 products were unmanipulated or minimally manipulated and 143 products were extensively manipulated. An additional 45 products were selected because they were stored for a longer duration; these were tested using both standard methods and global transcriptional analysis. All products were cryopreserved in 5% dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) plus 6% pentastarch and stored in liquid nitrogen.


The mean duration of storage of the 311 products was 143 days. Their TNC recovery was 92 ± 17%, CD3+ cell recovery was 76 ± 19%, and the TNC viability was 84 ± 6%. Duration of storage had no effect on TNC recovery, CD3+ cell recovery, or TNC viability of the 311 products. The mean duration of storage of the long-term stored products was 5.2 years; their TNC recovery (93 ± 14%) and the TNC viability (78 ± 13%) did not differ from the 311 products, but their CD3 cell recovery was greater (86 ± 22%; p = 0.0042). Gene expression profiles of the long-term-stored products revealed no differences due to storage duration.


Donor WBC products cryopreserved in 5% DMSO and 6% pentastarch can be stored in liquid nitrogen for at least 7 years.

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