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Comparison of Conventional Freezing and Vitrification with Dimethylformamide and Ethylene Glycol for Cryopreservation of Ovine Embryos

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The aim of this work was to evaluate the efficiency of the cryoprotectants dimethylformamide and ethylene glycol for cryopreservation of ovine embryos using vitrification and conventional freezing. The recovered embryos were distributed randomly in three treatment groups: Gr. 1: conventional freezing (n = 44), Gr. 2: vitrification with ethylene glycol (n = 39) and Gr. 3: vitrification with dimethylformamide (n = 38). Quality of fresh embryos in control group as well as of frozen and vitrified embryos was examined by three methodologies: staining with propidium iodide and Hoechst 33258 and evaluation under fluorescent microscopy, evaluation of re-expansion and hatching rates after culture, and determination of apoptotic index with TUNEL technique. It was established that re-expansion rate in all treatment groups was similar. In the same time, hatching rates were higher in Gr. 1 (40.5%) and Gr. 2 (35.3%) in comparison with Gr. 3 (15.5%, p < 0.05). The number of dead cells in vitrified embryos of Gr. 2 and Gr. 3 was higher (42.6 ± 26.2 and 63.2 ± 34.65, respectively) in comparison with Gr. 1 (conventional freezing, 10.1 ± 8.5, p < 0.05). Embryos vitrified with dimethylformamide included the same quality of apoptotic cells that Gr. 1 (conventional freezing) and fresh embryos. In conclusion, the dimethylformamide and ethylene glycol used as cryoprotectant to vitrify ovine embryos, in the concentrations and exposition time tested in this work, were not as efficient as the conventional freezing for cryopreservation of ovine embryos Thus, the conventional freezing with ethylene glycol was the most efficient method to cryopreserve ovine embryos in comparison with vitrification.

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