Human lymphocytes were frozen at constant cooling rates in the range 2.4 to 1000 °K/min without cryoadditive on the cold stage of a thermally defined cryomicroscope. The volume loss due to water efflux was quantified optically for the cooling rates 2.4, 12, 48, and 120 °K/min. The likelihood of the formation of intracellular ice was determined as function of the cooling rate. Intracellular crystallization temperatures were obtained for ice formation during both cooling and rewarming. A theoretical analysis of the cell volume loss during freezing was compared to the experimental data and used for an indirect determination of the water permeability of the cells. A relative optimum of the cooling rate is predicted theoretically under the assumption of a critical level of intracellular salt concentration near the eutectic temperature. The dependence of survival and cooling rate was determined cryomicroscopically by simultaneously applying the FDA EB fluorescence viability test. The optimal cooling rate of about 35 °K/min was also found for 2-ml samples frozen within the range of cooling rates of interest. The results show that for freezing in physiological saline solution (1) the optimum of the cooling rate is theoretically predictable, (2) cryomicroscopical data are significant for freezing of samples of larger volume, and (3) the lethal type of intracellular crystallization is cooling rate dependent and distinguishable from innocuous types. © 1983.
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