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Cryopreservation of hematopoietic progenitor cells from apheresis at high cell concentrations does not impair the hematopoietic recovery after transplantation


G.A. Martin-Henao, MD, PhD, Transfusion Center and Tissue Bank, Cell Therapy Unit, Hospital Duran i Reynals, Avenida Castelldefels, km 2.7, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, 08907 Barcelona, Spain; e-mail:


BACKGROUND: The high number of nuclear cells (NCs) from hematopoietic progenitor cells-apheresis (HPC-A) requires cryopreservation in large volumes or at high NC concentrations. The effect of NC concentration during cryopreservation has yet to be examined.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: In the experimental arm (n = 610, Protocol B), the first HPC-A sample from the patient was cryopreserved in two cryobags and subsequent collections in one cryobag, resulting in high NC concentrations (>100 × 106 NCs/mL) in most cases. The effect of NC concentrations at freezing in NC recovery after thawing and engraftment kinetics was analyzed and compared with a group of HPC-A cryopreserved at standard NC concentrations (n = 455, Protocol A).

RESULTS: The mean (SD) NC concentration at freezing was 78 (28) × 106 per mL (median, 82 × 106/mL; range, 12 × 106-156 × 106/mL) and 183 (108) × 106 per mL (median, 156 × 106/mL; range, 16 × 106-678 × 106/mL), for HPC-A cryopreserved according to Protocols A and B, respectively. The NC viabilities of the test vials and HPC-A components after thawing were 88 percent versus 85 percent and 85 percent versus 82 percent, and the cloning efficiency was 49 percent versus 33 percent for Protocols A and B, respectively (p < 0.001). Significant differences were not observed in the recovery of NCs. Days to neutrophil and platelet engraftment were not different between patients transplanted in the standard- (n = 143) or high-cell-concentration group (n = 238).

CONCLUSION: The cryopreservation of HPC-A at higher than standard NC concentrations has no adverse impact on hematopoietic reconstitution after transplantation.