The cryopreservation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) is a routine research laboratory process, enabling long-term storage of primary patient blood samples. Retrospective analysis of these samples has the potential to identify markers that may be associated with prognosis and response to treatment. To draw valid biological conclusions from this type of analysis, it is essential to ensure that any observed changes are directly related to the pathology of the disease rather than the preservation process itself. Therefore, we have investigated 15 cell surface markers that are relevant to chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) on matched fresh and thawed samples to determine the effect of cryopreservation on their detection. We found that the number of CLL cells positive for the markers CD22, CD40, CD49d, CD54, CD69, and CXCR3 was decreased significantly after cryopreservation. In addition, the mean fluorescence intensity of 10 of the 15 markers changed significantly after cryopreservation. These findings demonstrate that care must be taken when interpreting this type of analysis on thawed samples.
- chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
- cell surface markers
- Sample degradation
- underestimation of antigenexpression