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Morphological, biochemical and functional studies to evaluate bovine oocyte vitrification

Gutnisky, C., Morado, S., Gadze, T., Donato, A., Alvarez, G., Dalvit, G., Cetica, P.
Theriogenology 2020 v.143 pp. 18-26
cattle, embryo culture, embryogenesis, in vitro fertilization, metabolism, metaphase, mitochondria, oocyte vitrification, oocytes, reactive oxygen species, viability, vitrification
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of vitrification on morphological, biochemical and functional parameters of matured bovine oocytes at different recovery times. To this end, matured bovine oocytes were vitrified using the Cryotech® kit (a minimum-volume system) and then incubated in maturation medium for different post-warming durations (0 h, 3 h or 21 h). Morphology, viability and biochemical parameters were assessed at each time point mentioned above and the recovery of the metaphase plate was analyzed at 2 h, 3 h and 4 h post-warming. The vitrification-warming process did not affect the viability or morphology of oocytes at any time point. However, the recovery of the metaphase plate occurred mostly between 3 and 4 h rather than at 2 h after warming (P < 0.05). Both control and vitrified-warmed oocytes showed changes in cytosolic oxidative activity, quantification of active mitochondria, reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and redox status at the different time points studied (P < 0.05). However, differences between control and vitrified-warmed oocytes were found only in the quantification of active mitochondria and ROS production (P < 0.05). Finally, in vitro fertilization and embryo culture were carried out as functional studies to establish whether vitrification-warming affected oocyte competence, and a significant decrease was found both in the cleavage rate and embryo development (P < 0.05). We concluded that major improvements in oocyte vitrification, at list with Cryotech® kit, are still needed to avoid variations in oocyte metabolism which could contribute to the reduction in the developmental competence of bovine oocytes.