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Relation between Physical Properties of the Zona Pellucida and Viability of Bovine Embryos after Slow-freezing and Vitrification

Agricultura e Produção Animal

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Referência

Moreira da Silva, F. e Metelo, R. 2005. Relation between Physical Properties of the Zona Pellucida and Viability of Bovine Embryos after Slow-freezing and Vitrification. Reproduction in Domestic Animals, 40 (3):205 – 209.

Resumo

In vitro-produced bovine morulae/blastocyst embryos (n = 119) were slow-frozen and vitrified and the physical alterations of the zona pellucida (ZP) was observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to find an explanation for the loss of developmental capacity of the embryos after freezing/thawing. A control group was provided, in which embryos (n = 38) were neither frozen nor vitrified. Embryos were in vitro-cultured in a standard CO2 Heraeus incubator and their viability was assessed 24 and 48 h after the start of culture, evaluating their morphological aspect. After 24 h of culture, embryo survival rate for slow-freezing/thawed (n = 23), vitrified/thawed (n = 20) and control embryos (n = 20) was 39, 27 and 90%, and 35, 14 and 65% after 48 h of culture, respectively. For evaluation of physical changes occurring in ZP, 20 embryos were slow-frozen, 18 were vitrified and 18 were used as control. All embryos were fixed, dried and examined under an SEM. Embryo's diameter, as well as the number of pores and their diameter was measured in squares of 6.4 μm width. We observed that, on average, the diameter of the embryos (92.26 ± 10.15 μm) did not differ significantly among all embryos. As far as the diameter of the pores in the outer surface of the ZP is concerned, the results revealed a significant difference (P < 0.05) between control (0.48 ± 0.0025 μm), slow-frozen (0.34 ± 0.0007 μm) and vitrified (0.27 ± 0.0006 μm) embryos. For the number of pores, statistical differences (p < 0.05) were observed between control and vitrified embryos (45.4 ± 7.3 vs 38.2 ± 8.2). It is possible that ZP functions as a barrier which is positive when dealing with pathogens, but is harmful when nutrients were supplied from the outside, especially at 48 h of culture. Results indicate that the steps of cryopreservation cause alterations in ZP, with irreversible damage on the further developmental competence of bovine embryos.

Tera, 31 Maio, 2005

Equipa

Joaquim Fernando Moreira da Silva
Membro Integrado com contrato

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