Determination of oocyte membrane permeability coefficients and their application to cryopreservation in a rabbit model

Jun Liu, Steve Mullen, Qinggang Meng, John Critser, Andras Dinnyes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


Having an effective means to cryopreserve human oocytes would offer more flexibility in healthcare services for infertility patients, and obviate cryopreservation of preimplantation embryos. It is essential to establish good animal models for human oocyte cryopreservation and the rabbit is a good candidate. Attempts to improve oocyte cryopreservation are often empirical, with results often being irreproducible. Cryopreservation protocols may be optimized by modeling the changes in oocyte volume and the associated damages incurred during the addition and dilution of cryoprotective agents (CPA). The objectives of the current study were to determine cryobiological properties of rabbit oocytes, including the isotonic volume, osmotically inactive cell fraction (Vb), hydraulic conductivity (Lp), permeability (Ps) to dimethylsulfoxide (Me2SO), ethylene glycol (EG), and glycerol (GLY) and to examine the correlation between cell volume excursions and viability. This has led to the development of the accumulative osmotic damage (AOD) model associated with the processes of CPA addition/dilution. Mature rabbit oocytes were perfused with 15% (V/V) CPA medium (dissolved in 1× PBS). The osmotic responses of the oocytes were videotaped. A two-parameter model was fit to the experimental data to determine the values of Lp and Ps. Oocyte volumes reached upon equilibration with 285, 600, 900, and 1200 mOsm (milliosmolal) solutions of non-permeating compounds were plotted in a Boyle van't Hoff plot. The average radius of rabbit oocytes in an isotonic solution was determined to be 55.7 ± 1.2 μm (n = 16). The rabbit oocyte exhibited an "ideal" osmotic response in the range from iso-osmolity to 1200 mOsm. The Vb was determined to be 20% of the isotonic value with r2 = 0.97. The values of Lp were determined to be 0.79 ± 0.26, 0.82 ± 0.22, and 0.64 ± 0.16 μm min-1 atm-1 and the Ps values were determined to be 2.9 ± 1.3, 2.7 ± 1.3, and 0.27 ± 0.18 × 10-3 cm min-1 for Me2SO, EG and GLY, respectively. There were no significant differences (p > 0.05) between values for Lp and PS in the presence of the Me2SO and EG. However, these values were significantly different from the values in presence of GLY. We calculated the AOD values of those oocytes that experienced the process of CPA additions/dilutions and found that these values were highly correlated to the development rates of these oocytes after parthenogenetic activation (r = -0.98).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-134
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2009


  • Cryobiology
  • Membrane permeability
  • Oocyte cryopreservation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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