Organ transplantation is a life-saver for end-stage organ failure. The organs need to be preserved at freezing temperature for transplantation. About two-thirds of our cell is composed of water. Liquid water displays anomalous properties in stark contrast to other liquids, for instance, liquid water expands on cooling to ice water. These anomalous behaviours are attributed to its unique ability to form extensive hydrogen bond network. Therefore, freezing organs can cause damage to the cell. To mitigate this, one can use cryoprotectant. DMSO has been used as a cryoprotectant for over 4 decades. But the microscopic level mechanism of its cryoprotecting ability remains elusive. To address this we have used 2D IR spectroscopy and to visualize experimental results we have carried out Molecular Dynamics & Simulations studies. Our studies unambiguously indicate that adding DMSO dehydrates water at the lipid interface and protects cell from freezing damage by disrupting the water hydrogen bond network at the lipid-water interface.
Read more: Langmuir 36, 6502-6511, 2020.