Single-cell transcriptome conservation in a comparative analysis of fresh and cryopreserved human skin tissue: pilot in localized scleroderma
Background The purpose of this study was to assess variability in cell composition and cell-specific gene expression in the skin of patients with localized scleroderma (LS) utilizing CryoStor® CS10 in comparison to RPMI to produce adequate preservation of tissue samples and cell types of interest for use in large-scale multi-institutional collaborations studying localized scleroderma and other skin disorders. Methods We performed single-cell RNA sequencing on paired skin biopsy specimens from 3 patients with LS. Each patient with one sample cryopreserved in CryoStor® CS10 and one fresh in RPMI media using 10× Genomics sequencing. Results Levels of cell viability and yield were comparable between CryoStor® CS10 (frozen) and RPMI (fresh) preserved cells. Furthermore, gene expression between preservation methods was collectively significantly correlated and conserved across all 18 identified cell cluster populations. Conclusion Comparable cell population and transcript expression yields between CryoStor® CS10 and RPMI preserved cells support the utilization of cryopreserved skin tissue in single-cell analysis. This suggests that employing standardized cryopreservation protocols for the skin tissue will help facilitate multi-site collaborations looking to identify mechanisms of disease in disorders characterized by cutaneous pathology.