Recent studies show that during slow freezing of cells, in addition to chemical damage, the cells may be also injured by mechanical damage induced by ice crystal compression. A new experimental procedure is employed to develop a quantitative understanding of cell destruction by deformation with two parallel surfaces. The viability of deformed cells (prostatic carcinoma cells, 17.5 μm in mean diameter) is measured at 0 °C, 23 °C and 37 °C, and six different nominal gap sizes between 32 μm and 3.5 μm. The relation between measured viability and gap size at 0 °C and 23 °C are identical but the viability decreases at 37 °C. This may suggest that deformation damage is not related to the mechanical properties of the lipid membrane but the deformation of the cytoskeleton.

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