• Vol. 43 No. 10, 492–498
  • 15 October 2014

Changes in Mechanical, Structural Integrity and Microbiological Properties Following Cryopreservation of Human Cadaveric Iliac Arteries

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: The study seeks to investigate how the duration of storage of cryopreserved human cadaveric iliac arteries impacts their mechanical, structural and microbiological properties as compared to their fresh sample.

Materials and Methods: Iliac arteries were harvested from 12 human cadavers and divided into 2 groups. One group underwent mechanical stress-strain assessment immediately and another was cryopreserved for a pre-determined time-period (range, 29 to 364 days). Mechanical functionality was assessed with a customised clamping mechanism. The arteries’ microbiological properties were studied pre- and post-cryopreservation. The post-thawed arteries were also assessed histologically for structural integrity.

Results: Iliac arteries were harvested from 12 human cadavers and divided into 2 groups. One group underwent mechanical stress-strain assessment immediately and another was cryopreserved for a pre-determined time-period (range, 29 to 364 days). Mechanical functionality was assessed with a customised clamping mechanism. The arteries’ microbiological properties were studied pre- and post-cryopreservation. The post-thawed arteries were also assessed histologically for structural integrity.

Conclusion: Mechanically, non-atherosclerotic cryopreserved arteries can be a good substitute to their corresponding fresh arterial graft. However, the length of cryopreservation has an effect on the relative stiffness of the pre- and post-cryopreserved arteries. Histological and microbiological findings suggest that cryopreservation have little impact on an artery structural integrity and may possibly have a role in maintaining sterility and sterilising the arteries.


Advancement in cryopreservation techniques have led to mounting interest in the use of arterial allograft for vascular reconstructive procedures and for treating arterial infections. Cryopreservation of arterial allografts at deep sub-zero temperature offers the benefit of ensuring a ready supply of vascular tissues for emergency use or when electively needed. At deep sub-zero temperature, all biochemical reactions that lead to cell death are effectively stopped. Theoretically, cryopreservation would thus offer indefinite longevity to cells and possibly indefinite storage.

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