This New Technique Can Bring Frozen Tissue Back To Life Without Harm

A profound stride in neurological exploration emerges from the labs of Fudan University in China. Researchers there have spearheaded a method to freeze and revive human brain tissue sans any detrimental effects, signifying a monumental leap forward in the field.

This groundbreaking approach, devised at the National Children’s Medical Center, hinges on cryopreserving brain tissue with a tailored concoction dubbed MEDY. Comprised of ethylene glycol, methylcellulose, DMSO, and Y27632, this solution showcases remarkable prowess in safeguarding the structural integrity of brain tissue amidst the rigors of freezing and subsequent thawing.

The process entails immersing brain organoids—tissue grown from stem cells—in the MEDY solution before freezing them with liquid nitrogen. The researchers meticulously adjusted variables such as the age of the organoids and the duration of soaking to optimize the cryopreservation process.

Upon thawing, the organoids continued to grow for up to 150 days, exhibiting minimal differences compared to non-frozen counterparts, even after being frozen for 18 months. This outcome was detailed in the journal Cell Reports Methods.

MEDY has shown to preserve synaptic function and inhibit endoplasmic reticulum-mediated apoptosis, crucial for maintaining cell viability. The solution is expected to enable large-scale, reliable storage of neural organoids and living brain tissue, enhancing research, medical applications, and drug screening.

A pivotal test involved using brain tissue from a human epilepsy patient. The preserved tissue maintained its structure and pathological features, crucial for studying diseases like epilepsy without the freezing process affecting the results. This experiment demonstrated MEDY’s efficacy in preserving brain tissue for future analysis.

The solution, developed by Dr. Zhicheng Shao and colleagues at Fudan University, addresses significant challenges in cryopreserving human brain tissue, which is crucial for studying neural diseases. The researchers emphasized the importance of reliable cryopreservation technology for fresh viable human brain tissue and organoids. Such technology is essential for investigating pathological mechanisms of brain diseases, facilitating brain injury treatments through organoid transplantation, and aiding in drug discovery.

“Fresh, viable human brain tissue with natural pathological features is a more reliable model to study neural diseases (than organoids),” said the team.

“However, with limited accessibility and manipulability, cryopreservation and reconstruction of living brain tissue with specific pathological features remain hugely challenging, as it is hard to maintain the survival of large amounts of functional neurons.”

This innovative technique promises to transform the storage and study of brain tissue, enabling extensive research into brain-related conditions and potentially leading to significant medical breakthroughs.

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