Low-molecular-weight carbohydrate Pentaisomaltose may replace dimethyl sulfoxide as a safer cryoprotectant for cryopreservation of peripheral blood stem cells

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Cryopreserved hematopoietic stem cell products are widely used for certain hematologic malignancies. Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is the most widely used cryoprotective agent (CPA) today, but due to indications of cellular toxicity, changes of the cellular epigenetic state, and patient-related side effects, there is an increasing demand for DMSO-free alternatives. We therefore investigated whether Pentaisomaltose (PIM), a low-molecular-weight carbohydrate (1 kDa), can be used for cryopreservation of peripheral blood stem cells, more specifically hematopoietic progenitor cell apheresis (HPC(A)) product.


We cryopreserved patient or donor HPC(A) products using 10% DMSO or 16% PIM and quantified the recovery of CD34+ cells and CD34+ subpopulations by multicolor flow cytometry. In addition, we compared the frequency of HPCs after DMSO and PIM cryopreservation using the colony-forming cells (CFCs) assay.


The mean CD34+ cell recovery was 56.3 ± 23.7% (11.4%-97.3%) and 58.2 ± 10.0% (45.7%-76.9%) for 10% DMSO and 16% PIM, respectively. The distribution of CD34+ cell subpopulations was similar when comparing DMSO or PIM as CPA. CFC assay showed mean colony numbers of 70.7 ± 25.4 (range, 37.8-115.5) and 67.7 ± 15.7 (range, 48-86) for 10% DMSO and 16% PIM, respectively.


Our findings demonstrate that PIM cryopreservation of HPC(A) products provides recovery of CD34+ cells, CD34+ subpopulations, and CFCs similar to that of DMSO cryopreservation and therefore may have the potential to be used for cryopreservation of peripheral blood stem cells.

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