Slow-motion video showing how cells freeze may help scientists preserve tissue without damaging it.
Ice is more likely to form in tissue cells that are frozen together than in cells chilled individually. By watching cells freeze under a cryomicroscope, researchers were able to determine that ice crystals spread along seamlike structures that weave together neighboring cell membranes in tissue. The seams normally seal cells to keep ice out. But at low temperatures, ice crystals can poke through nanoscale openings in the seams, causing the water within the cells to freeze.
The results, which appear November 5 in the Biophysical Journal, could lead to better ways to store tissue for medical care and research.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.