Ex-situ normothermic machine perfusion (NMP) of transplant kidneys allows assessment of kidney quality and targeted intervention to initiate repair processes prior to transplantation. Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) have been shown to possess the capacity to stimulate kidney repair. Therefore, the combination of NMP and MSC therapy offers potential to repair transplant kidneys. It is however unknown how NMP conditions affect MSC. In this study the effect of NMP perfusion fluid on survival, metabolism and function of thawed cryopreserved human (h)MSC and porcine (p)MSC in suspension conditions was studied. Suspension conditions reduced the viability of pMSC by 40% in both perfusion fluid and culture medium. Viability of hMSC was reduced by suspension conditions by 15% in perfusion fluid, whilst no differences were found in survival in culture medium. Under adherent conditions, survival of the cells was not affected by perfusion fluid. The perfusion fluid did not affect survival of fresh MSC in suspension compared to the control culture medium. The freeze-thawing process impaired the survival of hMSC; 95% survival of fresh hMSC compared to 70% survival of thawed hMSC. Moreover, thawed MSC showed increased levels of reactive oxygen species, which indicates elevated levels of oxidative stress, and reduced mitochondrial activity, which implies reduced metabolism. The adherence of pMSC and hMSC to endothelial cells was reduced after the thawing process, effect which was particularly profound in in the perfusion fluid. To summarize, we observed that conditions required for machine perfusion are influencing the behavior of MSC. The freeze-thawing process reduces survival and metabolism and increases oxidative stress, and diminishes their ability to adhere to endothelial cells. In addition, we found that hMSC and pMSC behaved differently, which has to be taken into consideration when translating results from animal experiments to clinical studies.
cryopreservation, endothelial cells, kidney repair, mesenchymal stromal cells, normothermic machine perfusion, perfusion fluid, suspension conditions