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Rapid cooling of rabbit embryos in a synthetic medium

Teixeira, Magda, Commin, Loris, Gavin-Plagne, Lucie, Bruyère, Pierre, Buff, Samuel, Joly, Thierry
Cryobiology 2018 v.85 pp. 113-119
animal products, blastocyst, bovine serum albumin, cooling, cryopreservation, hatching, mitochondria, pathogens, pregnancy, rabbits, risk, survival rate
Embryo cryopreservation media usually contain animal-derived products, such as bovine serum albumin (BSA). These products present two major disadvantages: an undefined variable composition and a risk of pathogen transmission. We aimed to evaluate the effect of replacing BSA in rabbit embryo rapid cooling “freezing” and warming media with a chemically defined medium with no animal-derived products: STEM ALPHA. Cryo3 (“Cryo3”).A total of 1540 rabbit morulae were divided into three cryopreservation groups (group 1: BSA, group 2: 20% Cryo3 and group 3: 100% Cryo3) and a fresh controls group. After rapid cooling, embryos were cultured (in vitro approach), or transferred into synchronized does (in vivo approach). In the in vitro approach, post-warm survival rates obtained with 100% Cryo3 (94.9%) were superior to BSA (90.8%) and 20% Cryo3 (85.6%). The blastocyst formation rate was similar between BSA, 20% Cryo3 and 100% Cryo3 groups (85.1, 77.9 and 83.3%, respectively), as was the expansion/hatching rate (63.1, 63.4 and 58.0%, respectively) and embryo mitochondrial activity. In the in vivo approach, pregnancy (80.0, 68.0 and 95.2%, respectively), implantation (40.5, 45.9 and 44.8%, respectively), and live-foetus rates (35.6, 35.5 and 38.1%, respectively) were similar between the three groups. To conclude, Cryo3 can replace BSA in rabbit embryo rapid cooling “freezing” and warming media.