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Assisted hatching in mouse embryos using a noncontact Ho:YSGG laser system



A noncontact holmium:yttrium scandium gallium garnet (Ho:YSGG) laser system has been designed and tested for the micromanipulation of mammalian embryos. The purpose of this preliminary investigation was to determine the effectiveness of this laser for assisted hatching and evaluate its impact on embryo viability. The Ho:YSGG system, utilizing 250-microsecond pulses at a wavelength of 2.1 microns and 4 Hz, was used to remove a portion of the zona pellucida (ZP) of two- to four-cell FVB mouse embryos.


In the first experiment there was no difference in blastocyst production or hatching rates following laser or conventional assisted hatching (LAH or AH, respectively) in contrast to control embryos cultured in a 5% CO2 humidified air incubator at 37 degrees C. In the second experiment a blastocyst antihatching culture model was employed and LAH-treated embryos were cultured in a serum-free HTF medium (HTF-o). Blastocyst formation was not influenced by LAH treatment and hatching was increased (P < 0.01) from 4 to 60% compared to HTF-o control group.


These preliminary data demonstrate the utility and nontoxic properties of the Ho:YSGG laser system for quick and precise ZP drilling.

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