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51 Effect of Cryoprotectant Exposure Time on Development of Vitrified-Warmed Immature Equine Oocytes

H. S. Canesin A , J. G. Brom-de-Luna A , Y.-H. Choi A , A. M. Pereira B , G. G. Macedo B and K. Hinrichs A
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- Author Affiliations

A Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA;

B Federal University of Uberlândia, Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 30(1) 164-165
Published: 4 December 2017


Effective methods for cryopreservation of equine oocytes have not yet been established. Vitrification involves use of high cryoprotectant (CPA) concentrations, which can be cytotoxic. Thus, it is critical to determine a CPA concentration and exposure time able to protect the cell during cooling but with a minimal toxicity. Using a rapid non-equilibrating system, we fixed the time in the first, lower CPA concentration solution (V1) at 40 s, based on the time to maximal shrinkage. We then evaluated different exposure times in the final vitrification solution (V2). Cumulus-oocyte complexes (COC) were collected from slaughterhouse-derived ovaries and held overnight in commercial embryo holding medium. Fetal bovine serum was used as the base medium (BM). In experiment 1, COC were held in BM, incubated in V1 (2% propylene glycol + 2% ethylene glycol) for 40 s followed by incubation in V2 (17.5% propylene glycol + 17.5% ethylene glycol + 0.3 M trehalose) for 0, 45, 75, or 110 s, and then loaded in groups of 6 to 10 oocytes on a 75-µm steel mesh and plunged into liquid nitrogen. Warming was performed in decreasing trehalose concentrations in BM: 0.4 M (60-70 s), 0.2 M (5 min), 0.1 M (5 min), 0.05 M (5 min), and 0 M. After warming, oocytes were cultured for in vitro maturation (IVM) and evaluated after staining with Hoechst 33258. Differences between treatments were analysed by Fisher’s exact test. The maturation (metaphase II, MII) rate of the Control (non-vitrified oocytes; 38.8%, 31/80) was similar to that of the 75-s treatment (34.8%, 16/46; P = 0.71), and higher (P < 0.05) than those of the 0, 45, and 110 s treatments (0.0%, 0/10; 11.4%, 4/35; and 3.6%, 1/28; respectively). In experiment 2, timings in V2 focusing around 75 s were evaluated. The COC were collected and vitrified as for experiment 1, except that time in V2 was 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, or 100 s. The vitrified COC were then shipped to the intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) laboratory. After warming and IVM, oocytes were subjected to ICSI and embryo culture. Control oocytes were recovered by transvaginal follicle aspiration. The MII rate of the Control (60%, 33/55) was similar (P > 0.05) to that of the 60- and 70-s treatments (38.9%, 7/18, and 35.3%, 6/17, respectively), and higher (P < 0.05) than those of the 50-, 80-, 90-, and 100-s treatments (5.6 to 31.6%). The cleavage rates were 94% (31/33) for the Control and 71 to 100% for vitrified oocytes (P > 0.05). No blastocyst was produced from vitrified oocytes compared with 8/33 (24.2%) for Control. This work demonstrates that a rapid, non-equilibrating vitrification technique using a 40-s initial exposure and 70- to 80-s final exposure to CPA is associated with maintenance of meiotic competence of immature equine oocytes; however, further work is required to optimize embryonic development with this method.

Research supported by the Clinical Equine ICSI Program and the Link Equine Research Fund, Texas A&M University.

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