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Concept: Cryopreservation


It is widely considered that most organisms cannot survive prolonged exposure to temperatures below 0°C, primarily because of the damage caused by the water in cells as it freezes. However, some organisms are capable of surviving extreme variations in environmental conditions. In the case of temperature, the ability to survive subzero temperatures is referred to as cryobiosis. We show that the ozobranchid leech, Ozobranchus jantseanus, a parasite of freshwater turtles, has a surprisingly high tolerance to freezing and thawing. This finding is particularly interesting because the leach can survive these temperatures without any acclimation period or pretreatment. Specifically, the leech survived exposure to super-low temperatures by storage in liquid nitrogen (-196°C) for 24 hours, as well as long-term storage at temperatures as low as -90°C for up to 32 months. The leech was also capable of enduring repeated freeze-thaw cycles in the temperature range 20°C to -100°C and then back to 20°C. The results demonstrated that the novel cryotolerance mechanisms employed by O. jantseanus enable the leech to withstand a wider range of temperatures than those reported previously for cryobiotic organisms. We anticipate that the mechanism for the observed tolerance to freezing and thawing in O. jantseanus will prove useful for future studies of cryopreservation.

Concepts: Temperature, Thermodynamics, Solid, Liquid, Melting point, Freezing, Cryobiology, Cryopreservation


Background Ovarian aging and cytotoxic treatments are the most common causes for fertility loss in women. With increasing numbers of young female survivors following cytotoxic cancer treatments, the issue of fertility preservation has assumed greater importance. Methods We review the literature on the causes of female fertility loss as well as the recent advances in fertility preservation options and strategies that might be of interest to oncologists. Currently, several methods and techniques exist for fertility preservation of female patients with cancer including embryo freezing, ovarian protection techniques, oocyte cryopreservation, ovarian tissue cryopreservation followed by autotransplantation, and recently in vitro culture of ovarian tissue, follicles, and oocytes. Each method or technique has advantages and disadvantages related to current success rate, required delay in cancer treatment, sperm requirement, and risk of reintroducing cancer cells. Results To date, embryo freezing is the only established method successfully and widely used for fertility preservation of female patients with cancer. The other methods are promising but still considered experimental. Conclusion Patient awareness, physician knowledge, early counseling, costs management, international registry, interdisciplinary networks, and research development are necessary to improve the current care in the field of female fertility preservation.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Fertility, Spermatozoon, Zygote, Cryobiology, Cryopreservation, Oocyte cryopreservation


Development of techniques to isolate, culture, and transplant human spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) has the future potential to treat male infertility. To maximize the efficiency of these techniques, methods for SSC cryopreservation need to be developed to bank SSCs for extended periods of time. Although, it has been demonstrated that SSCs can reinitiate spermatogenesis after freezing, optimal cryopreservation protocols that maximize SSC proliferative capacity post-thaw have not been identified. The objective of this study was to develop an efficient cryopreservation technique for preservation of SSCs. To identify efficient cryopreservation methods for long-term preservation of SSCs, isolated testis cells enriched for SSCs were placed in medium containing dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) or DMSO and trehalose (50 mM, 100 mM, or 200 mM), and frozen in liquid nitrogen for 1 week, 1 month, or 3 months. Freezing in 50 mM trehalose resulted in significantly higher cell viability compared to DMSO at all thawing times and a higher proliferation rate compared to DMSO for the 1 week freezing period. Freezing in 200 mM trehalose did not result in increased cell viability; however, proliferation activity was significantly higher and percentage of apoptotic cells was significantly lower compared to DMSO after freezing for 1 and 3 months. To confirm the functionality of SSCs frozen in 200 mM trehalose, SSC transplantation was performed. Donor SSCs formed spermatogenic colonies and sperm capable of generating normal progeny. Collectively, these results indicate that freezing in DMSO with 200 mM trehalose serves as an efficient method for the cryopreservation of SSCs.

Concepts: Organ transplant, Food preservation, Dimethyl sulfoxide, Cryobiology, Cryopreservation, Cryoprotectant, Sulfoxide, Dimethyl sulfide


Vitrification, a kinetic process of liquid solidification into glass, poses many potential benefits for tissue cryopreservation including indefinite storage, banking, and facilitation of tissue matching for transplantation. To date, however, successful rewarming of tissues vitrified in VS55, a cryoprotectant solution, can only be achieved by convective warming of small volumes on the order of 1 ml. Successful rewarming requires both uniform and fast rates to reduce thermal mechanical stress and cracks, and to prevent rewarming phase crystallization. We present a scalable nanowarming technology for 1- to 80-ml samples using radiofrequency-excited mesoporous silica-coated iron oxide nanoparticles in VS55. Advanced imaging including sweep imaging with Fourier transform and microcomputed tomography was used to verify loading and unloading of VS55 and nanoparticles and successful vitrification of porcine arteries. Nanowarming was then used to demonstrate uniform and rapid rewarming at >130°C/min in both physical (1 to 80 ml) and biological systems including human dermal fibroblast cells, porcine arteries and porcine aortic heart valve leaflet tissues (1 to 50 ml). Nanowarming yielded viability that matched control and/or exceeded gold standard convective warming in 1- to 50-ml systems, and improved viability compared to slow-warmed (crystallized) samples. Last, biomechanical testing displayed no significant biomechanical property changes in blood vessel length or elastic modulus after nanowarming compared to untreated fresh control porcine arteries. In aggregate, these results demonstrate new physical and biological evidence that nanowarming can improve the outcome of vitrified cryogenic storage of tissues in larger sample volumes.

Concepts: Blood, Extracellular matrix, Blood vessel, Fourier transform, Glass transition, Cryobiology, Cryopreservation, Cryoprotectant


The development of new method to cryopreserve human ovarian cortex tissues without damage is needed for the improvement of quality of life (QOL) of female cancer patients. Here we show novel cryopreservation method of human ovarian cortex tissues by using supercooling (S.C.) procedure. Our method will be helpful in order to preserve fertility of female cancer patients.

Concepts: Human, Life, Quality, Quality of life, Ovary, Method, Cryopreservation, Human Development Index


Primordial follicles dictate a female’s reproductive lifespan and therefore are central to fertility preservation for both endangered species as well as for individuals with fertility threatening conditions. Ovarian tissue containing primordial follicles can be cryopreserved and later thawed and transplanted back into individuals to restore both endocrine function and fertility. Importantly, increasing numbers of human live births have been reported following ovarian tissue cryopreservation and transplantation. A current limitation of this technology is patient access to sites that are approved or equipped to process and cryopreserve ovarian tissue - especially in larger countries or low resource settings. Here we review empirical evidence from both animal models and human studies that suggest that ovarian tissue can be transported at cold temperatures for several hours while still maintaining the integrity and reproductive potential of the primordial follicles within the tissue. In fact, several human live births have been reported in European countries using tissue that was transported at cold temperatures for up to 20 hours prior to cryopreservation and transplantation. Ovarian tissue transport, if implemented widely in clinical practice, could therefore expand both patient and provider access to emerging fertility preservation options.

Concepts: Human, Temperature, Reproductive system, Endocrine system, Cold, Cryobiology, Cryopreservation, Ex-situ conservation


The conservation of endangered fish is of critical importance. Cryobanking could provide an effective backup measure for use in conjunction with the conservation of natural populations; however, methodology for cryopreservation of fish eggs and embryos has not yet been developed. The present study established a methodology capable of deriving functional eggs and sperm from frozen type A spermatogonia (ASGs). Whole testes taken from rainbow trout were slowly frozen in a cryomedium, and the viability of ASGs within these testes did not decrease over a 728-d freezing period. Frozen-thawed ASGs that were intraperitoneally transplanted into sterile triploid hatchlings migrated toward, and were incorporated into, recipient genital ridges. Transplantability of ASGs did not decrease after as much as 939 d of cryopreservation. Nearly half of triploid recipients produced functional eggs or sperm derived from the frozen ASGs and displayed high fecundity. Fertilization of resultant gametes resulted in the successful production of normal, frozen ASG-derived offspring. Feasibility and simplicity of this methodology will call for an immediate application for real conservation of endangered wild salmonids.

Concepts: Salmon, Salmonidae, Rainbow trout, Freezing, Cryobiology, Cryopreservation, Cryoprotectant, Ex-situ conservation


Cryopreservation has been widely utilized in livestock and human embryos, which allows for storage of worthy embryos for a long period of time, although it is still uncertain as how long embryos can be cryopreserved in liquid nitrogen. The aims of this study were to evaluate the effects of long-term cryopreservation on birth rate of transferred sheep embryos at morula or blastocyst stage, and to investigate growth performance and viability of their offspring. A total of 373 sheep embryos from the same batch, which had been cryopreserved by conventional procedure for 0.5yr (n=259) or 7.5yr (n=114), respectively, were transferred to 373 recipient ewes. In parallel, artificial inseminations, acting as controls, were conducted in the same month in both years (n=81 and n=110) that embryo transfers were performed. Results showed that there were no significant differences in birth rate between short-term cryopreservation group (cryopreserved for 0.5yr in 2003) and long-term cryopreservation group (cryopreserved for 7.5yr in 2010) either at the morula or blastocyst stage (p>0.05). No specific differences in birth weight were observed among short-term cryopreservation, artificial insemination 1 (performed in 2003), long-term cryopreservation and artificial insemination 2 (performed in 2010) group (p>0.05). The weaning weights were similar between the short-term cryopreservation and long-term cryopreservation group (p>0.05). The mortality rates of the offspring were similar in both groups as well (p>0.05). We concluded that the long-term cryopreservation did not appear to adversely affect birth rate of the embryos, growth performance and viability of their offspring. Our results indicated that the cryopreserved sheep embryos should be stable in liquid nitrogen for at least 7.5 years.

Concepts: Time, Embryo, Artificial insemination, Livestock, Liquid nitrogen, Cryobiology, Cryopreservation, Ex-situ conservation


This study dealt with the development of cryopreservation protocol for Nandus nandus, which entailed a number of experiments. Sperm was collected by sacrificing males. The collected sperm was suspended in extenders. Activation of sperm motility was evaluated in different osmolalities of NaCl. Motility of sperm decreased as the osmolality of the extender increased and was completely inhibited at almost 319mOsmol/kg. To evaluate the toxicity of cryoprotectant, sperm was incubated with DMSO, methanol and ethanol at 5%, 10% and 15% concentrations, respectively, for 5-35min. Five and ten percent of cryoprotectants produced better motility during 5 and 10min incubation. Sperm incubated with 15% cryoprotectant seemed to be toxic and this concentration was excluded in the subsequent trials. Three extenders, namely, Alsever’s solution, egg-yolk citrate and urea egg-yolk and three cryoprotectants, DMSO, methanol and ethanol were employed to preserve the sperm. Alsever’s solution with 10% DMSO showed best performance producing 90.0±1.8% and 75.0±2.5% equilibration and post-thaw motility followed by that of 82.5±4.2% and 62.5±5.5% with Alsever’s solution plus methanol, respectively. Between two diluents, sperm preserved with Alsever’s solution plus DMSO produced highest fertilization (76.7±3.3%) and hatching (43.8±7.9%) while fresh sperm yielded 83.3±6.7% and 64.0±10.4% fertilization and hatching, respectively. The protocol developed through the study can be applied for long-term conservation of genetic materials of the endangered fish N. nandus and the cryopreserved sperm can be used in artificial breeding for generating new individuals.

Concepts: Concentration, Solvent, Cryogenics, Cryobiology, Cryopreservation, Cryoprotectant, Cryonics, Ex-situ conservation


The high-frequency reorientation dynamics of O-(2)H bonds is investigated in various amorphous ices including eHDA (expanded high density amorphous ice), LDA-II (low density amorphous ice II) and HGW (hyperquenched glassy water) using (2)H-NMR spin-lattice relaxation as a local probe. Both low density forms, HGW and LDA-II, show similar spin-lattice relaxation but differ in the thermal stability with respect to the transition into crystalline cubic ice I©. HGW already transforms slightly above 135 K whereas LDA-II crystallizes at 150 K. eHDA is distinguishable from other high density amorphous ices in its thermal stability and spin-lattice relaxation. Its relaxation times are much larger compared to those of VHDA (very high density amorphous ice) and uHDA (unrelaxed high density amorphous ice). eHDA does not show annealing effects, transforms sharply into LDA-II above 123 K and provides higher thermal stability as compared to other high density forms.

Concepts: Ice, Solid, Glass, Cryopreservation, Amorphous ice, Water ice, Forms of water, Amorphous solids