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Theriogenology. 2009 Jul 15;72(2):198-202. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2009.02.009. Epub 2009 Apr 5.

Vitrification of the inner perivitelline layer of chicken eggs for use in the sperm-egg interaction assay.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Biology Institute, Federal University of Pelotas, Pelotas, RS, Brazil.


The sperm-egg interaction assay is a good predictor of the fertilizing potential of rooster semen; the ability of chicken sperm to interact with the egg can be assessed by counting the number of holes in the inner perivitelline layer (IPVL) of a freshly laid egg. Although isolated IPVL can be stored for up to 24h, preservation of IPVL for prolonged intervals in liquid nitrogen would facilitate the sperm-egg interaction assay. The objective of this study was to adapt the technique of vitrifying swine oocytes for use with the IPVL. Our hypothesis was that vitrification would not alter the ability of the membrane to bind sperm; therefore, there would be no difference between vitrified and fresh IVPL in the number of hydrolysis holes made by sperm. Our hypothesis was supported; there were no differences in the mean+/-SEM number of holes made by the same sample of sperm in vitrified and in fresh membranes (146.0+/-17.7 holes/mm(2) IPVL and 159.5+/-17.7 holes/mm(2) IPVL, respectively, P>0.05; n=123 IVPLs tested). Furthermore, 80% of frozen-thawed membranes were recovered intact. Because vitrification did not significantly change the ability of membranes to bind sperm, vitrified membranes can be safely used for the sperm-egg interaction assay. Vitrified IVPL would ensure availability for sperm evaluation and facilitate wide distribution of IPVL, enabling assays to be conducted even in the absence of facilities or expertise to prepare membranes.

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