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Theriogenology. 2007 Jan 1;67(1):81-9. Epub 2006 Oct 27.

Measurement of essential physical properties of vitrification solutions.

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Institute of Animal Science, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan, Israel.


Vitrification is an "ice-free" cryopreservation method that has rapidly developed in recent years and might become the method of choice for oocyte cryopreservation. Five sources of damage should be considered when attempting to achieve successful oocyte cryopreservation by vitrification: (1) Solution effects (2) Crystallization (3) Glass fractures (4) Devitrification and recrystallization (5) Chilling injury. The probability of successful vitrification depends on three major factors: viscosity of the sample; cooling and warming rates; and sample volume. One of the problems associated with the vitrification solution is that it may contain high concentrations of cryoprotectants (CP), which can damage the cells through chemical toxicity and osmotic shock. In the present study, we examined the principal parameters associated with successful vitrification, and attempted to compose guidelines to the most important aspects of the vitrification process. The first step was the selection of a suitable and least toxic vitrification solution. We then evaluated the effects of cooling rate and volume on the probability of vitrification. Reduction of the sample volume, combined with accelerated cooling, enabled reduction of the CP concentration. However, in practice, a delicate balance must be maintained among all the factors that affect the probability of vitrification in order to prevent crystallization, devitrification, recrystallization, glass fractures and chilling injury.

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