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Summary

In gene-banking, primordial germ cells (PGCs), which are embryonic precursor cells of germ cells, are useful for cryopreservation because PGCs have a potential to differentiate into both eggs and sperm via germ-line chimera. Here, we have established vitrification methods for PGCs cryopreservation using 12- to 17-somite stage embryos in loach, Misgurnus anguillicaudatus, which were dechorionated, removed their yolk and injected with green fluorescent protein (GFP) -nos1 3′UTR mRNA to visualize their PGCs. In order to optimize cryopreservation medium for vitrification, the toxicity of cryoprotectants was analyzed. Different concentrations (2, 3, 4, 5 m) of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), methanol (MeOH), ethylene glycol (EG) and propylene glycol (PG) as cryoprotectants were tested. Then, 5 m DMSO showed significantly-high toxicity. Based on this information, combinations called DMP (2 m (14.2% [v/v]) DMSO, 2 m (8.1% [v/v]) MeOH and 2 m (14.4% [v/v]) PG), DP (2 m (14.2% [v/v]) DMSO and 4 m (28.7% [v/v]) PG) and DE (2.1 m (15% [v/v]) DMSO and 2.7 m (15% [v/v]) EG) were evaluated for their toxicities and efficacy of PGCs cryopreservation using two types of equilibration step: direct immersion of cryopreservation media (one-step) and serial exposure to half and full concentration of cryopreservation media (two-step). Viable PGCs were obtained from post-thaw embryos which were cryopreserved by DP and DE with both 1- and 2-step equilibrations. Despite DP showing the highest toxicity, it gave the highest survival rate of embryonic cells after cryopreservation. When PGCs recovered from vitrified embryos were transplanted into host embryos at the blastula stage, the transplanted PGCs were able to migrate to a host genital ridge similarly as endogenous PGCs. It suggests that our methods could be useful to create a germ-line chimera for the production of gametes from PGCs of cryopreserved embryos.