CPA toxicity screening of cryoprotective solutions in rat hearts

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In clinical practice, donor hearts are transported on ice prior to transplant and discarded if cold ischemia time exceeds ∼5 h. Methods to extend these preservation times are critically needed, and ideally, this storage time would extend indefinitely, enabling improved donor-to-patient matching, organ utilization, and immune tolerance induction protocols. Previously, we demonstrated successful vitrification and rewarming of whole rat hearts without ice formation by perfusion-loading a cryoprotective agent (CPA) solution prior to vitrification. However, these hearts did not recover any beating even in controls with CPA loading/unloading alone, which points to the chemical toxicity of the cryoprotective solution (VS55 in Euro-Collins carrier solution) as the likely culprit. To address this, we compared the toxicity of another established CPA cocktail (VEG) to VS55 using ex situ rat heart perfusion. The CPA exposure time was 150 min, and the normothermic assessment time was 60 min. Using Celsior as the carrier, we observed partial recovery of function (atria-only beating) for both VS55 and VEG. Upon further analysis, we found that the VEG CPA cocktail resulted in 50 % lower LDH release than VS55 (N = 4, p = 0.017), suggesting VEG has lower toxicity than VS55. Celsior was a better carrier solution than alternatives such as UW, as CPA + Celsior-treated hearts spent less time in cardiac arrest (N = 4, p = 0.029). While we showed substantial improvement in cardiac function after exposure to vitrifiable concentrations of CPA by improving both the CPA and carrier solution formulation, further improvements will be required before we achieve healthy cryopreserved organs for transplant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104842
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

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  • CPA toxicity
  • Cryopreservation
  • Heart
  • Perfusion
  • Vitrification


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