Induction of telomere shortening and replicative senescence by cryopreservation

Shigeru Honda, Andrea Weigel, Leonard M. Hjelmeland, James T. Handa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Cryopreservation can alter cellular function under certain conditions. In this report, we demonstrate the induction of cellular senescence after cells have been cryopreserved using a standard protocol. A retinal pigment epithelial cell line frozen at a specific freezing rate and subsequently thawed showed severely impaired proliferation compared to cells that were not cryopreserved. The induction of senescence was suggested by senescent associated β-galactosidase activity and diminished bromo-deoxyuridine incorporation. A remarkable increase of single-strand DNA breaks in terminal restriction fragment (TRF) were found in cryopreserved cells immediately after thawing. The rate of mean TRF length shortening was accelerated after cryopreservation. Given this evidence, we hypothesize that cryopreservation may cause telomere shortening and cellular senescence under certain freezing conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-498
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Cryopreservation
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Retinal pigment epithelium
  • Senescence
  • Telomere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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