Specifics of vitrification of in vitro-produced cattle embyos at various development stages
AbstractProducing embryos in vitro is an important technology used to improve the genetic potential of cattle and perfect the programs of their breeding. Regardless of the way they are produced, all embryos that had not been used for transplantation to recipients must be conserved. Because of significantly increased interest in the problem of cryoconservation of embryos, both coming from scientists and businesses, there are emerging new commercial environments that allow the facilitation of cryoconservation and the increase in the embryo survival. Oocyte-cumulus complexes obtained from the ovaries of slaughtered clinically healthy cows matured in 22–24 h in in vitro conditions. The oocytes were co-cultured with spermatozoids in Fertilization medium, and the obtained zygotes were cultured in Culture medium with Sodium-Pyruvate for 4 or 7 days up to the stage of morula or blastocyste, respectively. For the vitrification of cow embryos, we used a commercial kit for the vitrification of human embryos, having compared the duration of equilibration. According to the results of the studies, we observed high efficiency of cryoconservation of cow embryos using the commercial kit for vitrification of human embryos. The results revealed the significant effect of equilibration on survival and further development of embryos. In addition, we described the dependence of development stage of cattle embryo on the duration of the contact of embryo with equilibration solution. Therefore, optimal time of contact of cattle embryos at the morula stage with equilibration solution was 12 minutes. On the 24th h after thawing, 46.7 ± 3.3% of the embryos were observed to undergo blastulation, and on 48th h, this parameter increased to 96.7 ± 3.3%, which corresponded to the parameters in the group of embryos that had not been subjected to cryoconservation. In the conditions of further cultivation, the percentage of blastocystes that hatched in the experimental group was no different from that of the control. At the same time, the highest efficiency of vitrification of blastocystes of cows was seen after the contact with the equilibration solution for 15 min, since the percentage of hatched blastocystes was the same as in the control group. Therefore, using the commercial kit for vitrification of human embryos is beneficial, for it promotes the parameters of cow embryos after vitrification/thawing that are similar to such of intact embryos (without freezing). The data we analyzed and presented in the paper could help to increase the efficiency of cryoconservation of cattle embryos for both scientific and commercial purposes.
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