Cells and tissues can be stored and transported in various ways, using methods like cryogenic preservation or hypothermic preservation. Cryogenic preservation is a known and well described technique to freeze biological material with cryoprotective agents at -80 to -196 °C. Hypothermic preservation, storage at 4 to 10 °C, is less familiar and described, but very efficient for short-term preservation needs. It can be achieved with hypothermic preservation fluids or with hypothermic storage agents, like our additive ROKEPIE®.

Comparing cryogenic and hypothermic preservation  

Before deciding which method is most suitable, you should consider the differences between cryogenic and hypothermic preservation described in the table below.

  Cryogenic preservation Hypothermic preservation products (For example ROKEPIE®)
Temperature  -80 to -196 °C 4 to 10 °C
Storage Months, years Hours, days, weeks
Cooling rate Critical Variable
Warming rate Critical Surroundings
Loss of cell yield Variable Variable, depend on interval
Loss of function Can be significant Unknown
Metabolism Minor activity Reduced by temperature
Cell membrane Damage Permeability can be affected
Cryoprotective agent DMSO Cell culture media or additives
Serum included Often Yes or no
Stress pathways Many activated Many activated
Proteome Altered Altered
Genome Possibly altered Unknown

 Which technique should you use? 

The preferable technique depends on the biological application of your cells and tissues. Long-term storage requires cryogenic preservation, this is used for the biobanking of i.e. biopsies and spermatozoa. Using cryopreservation for short-term purposes has several disadvantages: a limited storage capacity, using toxic cytoprotective agents (DMSO), expensive due to specialized equipment and this technique is not suitable for all cell types. Hypothermic preservation is preferable for short-term shipment or storage of cells, for example red blood cells. Hypothermic preservation comes with a lot of advantages in comparison with cryopreservation. It is a relatively cheap technique, easy to perform on your cells or tissue, you don’t require cytoprotective agents and you have a high cell viability after storage. In conclusion, hypothermic preservation is a better alternative for the short-term storage of your cells and tissue. Hypothermic storage is achieved with hypothermic preservation solutions or with ROKEPIE®. 

Comparing ROKEPIE® and hypothermic preservation solutions 

The major difference between ROKEPIE® and other hypothermic preservation products is that ROKEPIE® is an additive for standard cell culture media and it supports cell growth at 37 °C. Meaning that you don’t have to renew the cell culture media before and after a period of hypothermia. This reduces the number of steps in your protocol, saving time, reducing the possible risk of infection and level of cell stress. With ROKEPIE® you should consider a possible pH increase when moving the cells from the incubator to the fridge. This can easily be prevented by closing the flask or plate airtight. For more information check our datasheet pH change.