The capability to encapsulate single cells in droplets while retaining high cell viability (>90%) has great impact on tissue engineering, high-throughput screening, as well as clinical diagnostics and therapeutics. We demonstrate a novel method to vitrify a small number of cells using cell-encapsulating droplets. The method allows vitrification at low cryoprotectant concentration (1.5 M propanediol and 0.5 M trehalose), similar to that used in slow freezing protocols. The method was successfully applied to five different mammalian cell types: AML-12 hepatocytes, NIH-3T3 fibroblasts, HL-1 cardiomyocytes, mouse embryonic stem cells, and RAJI cells.
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