Background

Recrystallization damages occur when a frozen sample is held at high subzero temperatures and when the warming process is too slow.

Methodology

In this work, ram semen diluted in two different concentrations of sugar solutions (Lyo A consisted of 0.4 M sorbitol and 0.25 M trehalose, and the second, Lyo B composed of 0.26 M sorbitol and 0.165 M trehalose) in egg yolk and Tris medium were compared after freezing 10 μL samples to: (1) − 10, − 25, and − 35 °C and thawing. (2) Freezing to − 10 and − 25 °C, holding for 1 h and then thawing, and (3) freezing to − 10 and − 25 °C and drying for 1 h at these temperatures at a vacuum of 80 mTorr, prior to thawing. For drying, we used the LyoLife freeze-drying device having a condensation temperature below − 110 °C and a vacuum pressure of 10–100 mTorr that is reached in less than 10s.

Principal findings

Results showed that samples in Lyo B solution frozen at − 25 °C had significantly higher sperm motility in partially freeze-dried samples than frozen samples (46.6 ± 2.8% vs. 1.2 ± 2.5%, P < 0.001). Moreover, partially dried samples in Lyo B showed higher motility than Lyo A at − 25 °C (46.6 ± 2.8% vs. 35 ± 4%). Cryomicroscopy and low-temperature/low-pressure environmental scanning electronic microscope demonstrated that the amount of the ice crystals present in partially dried samples was lower than in the frozen samples.

Conclusions

Holding the sperm at high subzero temperatures is necessary for the primary drying of cells during the freeze-drying process. Rapid freeze-drying can be achieved using this new device, which enables to reduce recrystallization damages.

Source

High Post-Thaw Survival of Ram Sperm after Partial Freeze-Drying
A. Arav, A. Idda, S. M. Nieddu, Y. Natan, S. Ledda
Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics (2018)
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Supporting information

Figure 1: Ram sperm following partial drying with >50% motility