This study focuses on thermal analysis of the problem of scaling up from the vitrification of rabbit kidneys to the vitrification of human kidneys, where vitrification is the preservation of biological material in the glassy state. The basis for this study is a successful cryopreservation protocol for a rabbit kidney model, based on using a proprietary vitrification solution known as M22. Using the finite element analysis (FEA) commercial code ANSYS, heat transfer simulations suggest that indeed the rabbit kidney unquestionably cools rapidly enough to be vitrified based on known intrarenal concentrations of M22. Scaling up 21-fold, computer simulations suggest less favorable conditions for human kidney vitrification. In this case, cooling rates below −100 °C are sometimes slower than 1 °C/min, a rate that provides a clear-cut margin of safety at all temperatures based on the stability of rabbit kidneys in past studies. Nevertheless, it is concluded in this study that vitrifying human kidneys is possible without significant ice damage, assuming that human kidneys can be perfused with M22 as effectively as rabbit kidneys. The thermal analysis suggests that cooling rates can be further increased by a careful design of the cryogenic protocol and by tailoring the container to the shape of the kidney, in contrast to the present cylindrical container. This study demonstrates the critical need for the thermal analysis of experimental cryopreservation and highlights the unmet need for measuring the thermophysical properties of cryoprotective solutions under conditions relevant to realistic thermal histories.

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