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Theriogenology. 2004 Aug;62(3-4):437-49.

Comparison on in vitro fertilized bovine embryos cultured in KSOM or SOF and cryopreserved by slow freezing or vitrification.

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  • 1Connecticut Center for Regenerative Biology, University of Connecticut, 1392 Storrs Rd., U-4233, Storrs, CT 06269-4223, USA.


The objectives of this study were to identify an improved in vitro cell-free embryo culture system and to compare post-warming development of in vitro produced (IVP) bovine embryos following vitrification versus slow freezing. In Experiment 1, non-selected presumptive zygotes were randomly allocated to four medium treatments without co-culture: (1) SOF + 5% FCS for 9 days; (2) KSOM + 0.1% BSA for 4 days and then KSOM + 1% BSA to Day 9; (3) SOF + 5% FCS for 4 days and then KSOM + 1% BSA to Day 9; and (4) KSOM + 0.1% BSA for 4 days and then SOF + 5% FCS to Day 9. Treatment 4 (sequential KSOM-SOF culture system) improved (P > 0.05) morulae (47%), early blastocysts (26%), Day-7 blastocysts (36%), cell numbers, as well as total hatching rate (79%) compared to KSOM alone (Treatment 2). Embryos cultured in KSOM + BSA alone developed slowly and most of them hatched late on Day 9, compared to other treatments. In Experiment 2, the sequential KSOM-SOF culture system was used and Day-7 blastocysts were subjected to following cryopreservation comparison: (1) vitrification (VS3a, 6.5 M glycerol); or (2) slow freezing (1.36 M glycerol). Warmed embryos were cultured in SOF with 7.5% FCS. Higher embryo development and hatching rates (P < 0.05) were obtained by vitrification at 6h (71%), 24h (64%), and 48h (60%) post-warming compared to slow freezing (48, 40, and 31%, respectively). Following transfer of vitrified embryos to synchronized recipients, a 30% pregnancy rate was obtained. In conclusion, replacing KSOM with SOF after 4 days of culture produced better quality blastocysts. Vitrification using VS3a may be used more effectively to cryopreserve in vitro produced embryos than the conventional slow freezing method.

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