This study was carried out to investigate the effect of vitrification and slow freezing methods on the post-thaw developmental rate of rabbit zygotes. After exposing rabbit zygotes in EFS solution for 0.5, 1, 2, 3 and S min at room temperature, they were washed with 0.5 M sucrose solution, D-PBS and TCM-199 and then cultured in TCM-199 plus 10% FBS with bovine oviduct epithelial cells(BOEC) to examine whether the cryoprotectant induced injury during the various exposure periods. The embryo development rates to hatched blastocyst after exposing in EFS solution for 3 and 5 min(40.0 and 16.7%) were significantly lower than in 0.5, 1 and 2 min(63.0, 72.0 and 54.5%), respectively. The post-thaw development rates to hatched blastocyst were significantly(P<0.05) higher in in vivo morula with intact mucin coat(85.2%) and mucin seperated morula(77.8%) than those of in vitro morula(58.5%) and zygote(5.9%), hut no difference was shown between in vitro morulae and mucin separated morula. The cryoprotectant dilution procedures showed no effects on the post-thaw development rates to hatched blastocyst under the present culture conditions. The post-thaw development to hatched blastocyst in the rabbit zygotes was not significantly different between the slow freezing(12.8%) and vitrification(5.9%). These results indicated that the rabbit frozen zygotes could he successfully developed in vitro to hatched blastocysts, though their developmental rate was very low, compared with morula stage embryos, in either vitrification or slow freezing procedure under the present conditions.
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