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<?php $a = 1; $b = array(1, 2, &$a); $array = array(1 => array(&$a, &$b)); var_dump(serialize($array)); var_dump(unserialize(serialize($array)));
Output for 4.3.0 - 7.1.0
string(58) "a:1:{i:1;a:2:{i:0;i:1;i:1;a:3:{i:0;i:1;i:1;i:2;i:2;R:3;}}}" array(1) { [1]=> array(2) { [0]=> &int(1) [1]=> array(3) { [0]=> int(1) [1]=> int(2) [2]=> &int(1) } } }