UNAIR Professor of Embryology proves embryo freezing by vitrification does not cause cell damage

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Illustration by Feri Fenoria

UNAIR NEWS – In embryology, there is a term known as embryo cryopreservation. Embryo cryopreservation is the process of temporarily stopping cell living activities without turning off cell function, in which the embryo’s living process can continue after it is defrosted.Cryopreservation is carried out to store the remaining embryos that are not used in the process of artificial insemination. There are two freezing methods used, conventional cryopreservation and vitrification.

In the conventional method, the freezing process occurs slowly, so it can cause the formation of ice crystals that harm embryonic cells, the vitrification method on the other hand is carried out rapidly at a temperature of -196 degrees Celsius using cryoprotectants. Cryoprotectants are chemicals used to reduce the lethal effects of cell freezing exposure, such as crystallization. So, the life force of the embryo can be maintained even though it has been frozen.

Professor of UNAIR embryology biotechnology, Prof. Dr.Widjiati, M.Si., drh. conducted a research to prove whether there is damage to thawed embryo cells post-frozen by vitrification method.

“One of the main advantages of vitrification is the absence of crystallization that causes cell damage compared to other freezing methods. To avoid crystallization that damages blastomeric cells, vitrification method requires the use of high concentrations of cryoprotectants,” she explained.

Prof. Widjiati said that the embryo consists of blastomeric cells that can degenerate or decrease when they are thawed. It is caused by changes in temperature in the embryo. Drastic changes in temperature can cause the formation of free radicals that affect the quality of the embryo.

“But if only a few percentage, for example ten or twenty percent, the degeneration does not affect gene mutations,” she added.

Application of vitrification in mice embryos proved that frozen embryos after being thawed did not undergo gene mutations. So, the remaining embryos from artificial insemination can be stored before being used.

In the future, the lecturer of Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (FKH) wanted to develop vitrification in livestock embryos as innovations in the field of artificial insemination in animals.

“All this time only sperm for artificial insemination was frozen. I want to be able to freeze the embryos of cattle such as cattle in the future, so they can transfer embryos. So, in the future, I want to produce stored cow embryos to develop artificial insemination, ” she said. (*)

Author: Zanna Afia

Editor: Nuri Hermawan

Reference

Widjiati. 2018. The profiling of pre- and post-warming DNA in mouse embryos with microsatelite method. Veterinary World. Vol 11(11): p. 1526–1531

Link

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6303499/

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