Porcine oocyte vitrification in optimized low toxicity solution with open pulled straws

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Abstract

Summary

One of the greatest challenges for reproductive cryobiologists today is to develop an efficient cryopreservation method for human and domestic animal oocytes. The objective of the present study was to optimize a low toxicity solution called VM3 to vitrify porcine oocytes using an open pulled straw (OPS) device and to evaluate the effects on viability, chromosomal organization and cortical granules distribution. Two experiments were conducted in this study. Firstly, we determined the minimum concentration of cryoprotectant present in the VM3 solution required (7.6 M) for vitrification using an OPS device. The appearance of opacity was observed when using a cooling solution at −196°C; no observable opacity was noted as vitrification. In addition, the ultrastructure of oocytes in VM3 or VM3 optimized solution was examined using cryo-scanning electron microscopy. The minimum total cryoprotectant concentration present in VM3 solution necessary for apparent vitrification was 5.6 M when combined with use of an OPS device. Use of both vitrification solutions showed a characteristic plasticized surface. In the second experiment, the relative cytotoxicity of vitrification solutions (VM3 and VM3 optimized) was studied. Oocyte viability, chromosomal organization and the cortical granules distribution were assessed by fluorescent stain. After warming, oocyte survival rate was similar to that of fresh oocytes. The vitrification process significantly reduced correct chromosomal organization and cortical granules distribution rates compared with the fresh oocytes group. However, correct chromosomal organization and cortical granules distribution rates did not differ among oocytes placed in different vitrification solutions. In conclusion, our data demonstrated that the VM3 solution can be optimized and that reduction in concentration to 5.6 M enabled vitrification of oocytes with an OPS device, however use of the VM3 optimised solution had no beneficial effect on vitrification of porcine oocytes.

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