Pre-clinical validation of a closed surface system (Cryotop SC) for the vitrification of oocytes and embryos in the mouse model

Castello, D, Cobo, A, Mestres, E, Garcia, M, Vanrell, I, Alejandro Remohi, J, Calderon, G, Costa-Borges, N,
Cryobiology. Apr. 2018 doi: 10.1016/j.cryobiol.2018.02.002


Vitrification is currently a well-established technique for the cryopreservation of oocytes and embryos. It can be achieved either by direct (open systems) or indirect (closed systems) contact with liquid nitrogen. While there is not a direct evidence of disease transmission by transferred cryopreserved embryos, it was experimentally demonstrated that cross-contamination between liquid nitrogen and embryos may occur, and thus, the use of closed devices has been recommended to avoid the risk of contamination. Unfortunately, closed systems may result in lower cooling rates compared to open systems, due to the thermal insulation of the samples, which may cause ice crystal formation resulting in impaired results. In our study, we aimed to validate a newly developed vitrification device (Cryotop SC) that has been specifically designed for being used as a closed system. The cooling and warming rates calculated for the closed system were 5.254 degrees C/min and 43.522 degrees C/min, respectively. Results obtained with the closed system were equivalent to those with the classic Cryotop (open system), with survival rates in oocytes close to 100%. Similarly, the potential of the survived oocytes to develop up to good quality blastocysts after parthenogenetic activation between both groups was statistically equivalent. Assessment of the meiotic spindle and chromosome distribution by fluorescence microscopy in vitrified oocytes showed alike morphologies between the open and closed system. No differences were found either between the both systems in terms of survival rates of one-cell stage embryos or blastocysts, as well as, in the potential of the vitrified/warmed blastocysts to develop to full-term after transferred to surrogate females.