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High osmolality vitrification: a new method for the simple and temperature-permissive cryopreservation of mouse embryos.

  • Author(s): Mochida, Keiji;
  • Hasegawa, Ayumi;
  • Li, Ming-Wen;
  • Fray, Martin D;
  • Kito, Seiji;
  • Vallelunga, Jadine M;
  • Lloyd, KC Kent;
  • Yoshiki, Atsushi;
  • Obata, Yuichi;
  • Ogura, Atsuo
  • et al.

Procedures for cryopreserving embryos vary considerably, each having its specific advantages and disadvantages in terms of technical feasibility, embryo survival yield, temperature permissibility and species- or strain-dependent applicability. Here we report a high osmolality vitrification (HOV) method that is advantageous in these respects. Cryopreservation by vitrification is generally very simple, but, unlike slow freezing, embryos should be kept at a supercooling temperature (below -130°C) to avoid cryodamage. We overcame this problem by using an HOV solution containing 42.5% (v/v) ethylene glycol, 17.3% (w/v) Ficoll and 1.0 M sucrose. This solution is more viscous than other cryopreservation solutions, but easy handling of embryos was assured by employing a less viscous equilibration solution before vitrification. Most (>80%) embryos cryopreserved in this solution survived at -80°C for at least 30 days. Normal mice were recovered even after intercontinental transportation in a conventional dry-ice package for 2-3 days, indicating that special containers such as dry shippers with liquid nitrogen vapor are unnecessary. The HOV solution could also be employed for long-term storage in liquid nitrogen, as with other conventional cryoprotectants. Finally, we confirmed that this new vitrification method could be applied successfully to embryos of all six strains of mice we have tested so far. Thus, our HOV method provides an efficient and reliable strategy for the routine cryopreservation of mouse embryos in animal facilities and biomedical laboratories, and for easy and cheap transportation.

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