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Reprod Biomed Online. 2008 Sep;17(3):378-84.

Vitrification with DMSO protects embryo membrane integrity better than solutions without DMSO.

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Gothenburg IVF Research, Carlanders Hospital, 412 55, Gothenburg, Sweden.


Vitrification has become common for cryopreservation of embryos. However, the most optimal protocol for vitrification is still to be found. Two vitrification protocols with similar osmolarities were compared: Protocol A, containing dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO), propane-2-diol, and ethylene glycol, and Protocol B, containing propane-2-diol and ethylene glycol. Viability and the importance of specific incubation times for early embryo recovery, survival, and cleavage were studied. For assessment of cryodamage, embryos were labelled with Alexa Fluor 488-conjugated annexin V and propidium iodide. Vitrification studies on early mouse embryos were followed up with studies on human embryos. The two vitrification protocols did not differ in embryo survival rates and were equally efficient in both mouse and human embryo models. Morphological assessment of embryos directly after vitrification was not a useful tool for assessing survival in this study. Extended exposure of embryos with both vitrification protocols showed that the DMSO-containing vitrification solutions did not lead to cell membrane damage and death as quickly as the DMSO-free vitrification solutions. To assess embryo viability, the authors recommend that vitrification of early embryos should be combined with extended culture and assessment of normal blastocyst development before transferring to patients.

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