Hydroxyethylstarch in cryopreservation - mechanisms, benefits and problems

As the progress of regenerative medicine places ever greater attention on cryopreservation of (stem) cells, tried and tested cryopreservation solutions deserve a second look. This article discusses the use of hydroxyethyl starch (HES) as a cryoprotectant. Charting carefully the recorded uses of HES as a cryoprotectant, in parallel to its further clinical use, indicates that some HES subtypes are a useful supplement to dimethysulfoxide (DMSO) in cryopreservation. However, we suggest that the most common admixture ratio of HES and DMSO in cryoprotectant solutions has been established by historical happenstance and requires further investigation and optimization. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.