Thermomechanical analysis of freezing-induced cell-fluid-matrix interactions in engineered tissues

Bumsoo Han, Ka Yaw Teo, Soham Ghosh, J. Craig Dutton, Frederick Grinnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Successful cryopreservation of functional engineered tissues (ETs) is significant to tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, but it is extremely challenging to develop a successful protocol because the effects of cryopreservation parameters on the post-thaw functionality of ETs are not well understood. Particularly, the effects on the microstructure of their extracellular matrix (ECM) have not been well studied, which determines many functional properties of the ETs. In this study, we investigated the effects of two key cryopreservation parameters-(i) freezing temperature and corresponding cooling rate; and (ii) the concentration of cryoprotective agent (CPA) on the ECM microstructure as well as the cellular viability. Using dermal equivalent as a model ET and DMSO as a model CPA, freezing-induced spatiotemporal deformation and post-thaw ECM microstructure of ETs was characterized while varying the freezing temperature and DMSO concentrations. The spatial distribution of cellular viability and the cellular actin cytoskeleton was also examined. The results showed that the tissue dilatation increased significantly with reduced freezing temperature (i.e., rapid freezing). A maximum limit of tissue deformation was observed for preservation of ECM microstructure, cell viability and cell-matrix adhesion. The dilatation decreased with the use of DMSO, and a freezing temperature dependent threshold concentration of DMSO was observed. The threshold DMSO concentration increased with lowering freezing temperature. In addition, an analysis was performed to delineate thermodynamic and mechanical components of freezing-induced tissue deformation. The results are discussed to establish a mechanistic understanding of freezing-induced cell-fluid-matrix interaction and phase change behavior within ETs in order to improve cryopreservation of ETs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-80
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Cell image deformetry
  • Cryopreservation
  • Cryoprotective agents
  • Differential scanning calorimetry
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Tissue microstructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials


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