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Physiology - Women's Health


Comparison and Avoidance of Toxicity of Penetrating Cryoprotectants
Published: Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Author: Edyta A. Szurek et al.

by Edyta A. Szurek, Ali Eroglu

The objective of this study was to elucidate the toxicity of widely used penetrating cryoprotective agents (CPAs) to mammalian oocytes. To this end, mouse metaphase II (M II) oocytes were exposed to 1.5 M solutions of dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO), ethylene glycol (EG), or propanediol (PROH) prepared in phosphate buffered saline (PBS) containing 10% fetal bovine serum. To address the time- and temperature-dependence of the CPA toxicity, M II oocytes were exposed to the aforementioned CPAs at room temperature (RT, ~23°C) and 37°C for 15 or 30 minutes. Subsequently, the toxicity of each CPA was evaluated by examining post-exposure survival, fertilization, embryonic development, chromosomal abnormalities, and parthenogenetic activation of treated oocytes. Untreated oocytes served as controls. Exposure of MII oocytes to 1.5 M DMSO or 1.5 M EG at RT for 15 min did not adversely affect any of the evaluated criteria. In contrast, 1.5 M PROH induced a significant increase in oocyte degeneration (54.2%) and parthenogenetic activation (16%) under same conditions. When the CPA exposure was performed at 37°C, the toxic effect of PROH further increased, resulting in lower survival (15%) and no fertilization while the toxicity of DMSO and EG was still insignificant. Nevertheless, it was possible to completely avoid the toxicity of PROH by decreasing its concentration to 0.75 M and combining it with 0.75 M DMSO to bring the total CPA concentration to a cryoprotective level. Moreover, combining lower concentrations (i.e., 0.75 M) of PROH and DMSO significantly improved the cryosurvival of MII oocytes compared to the equivalent concentration of DMSO alone. Taken together, our results suggest that from the perspective of CPA toxicity, DMSO and EG are safer to use in slow cooling protocols while a lower concentration of PROH can be combined with another CPA to avoid its toxicity and to improve the cryosurvival as well.
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