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The overall objectives of this thesis were to develop a short-term culture system and to examine the effects of vitrification and short-term culture on the viability of fresh and vitrified bovine ovarian tissue and the follicles within. The first objective was to compare the health and development of preantral follicles in bovine ovarian tissue, as well as the neovascularization of these tissues, subjected to avian chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) culture with the traditional in vitro culture system. We hypothesized that the chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) of the chicken embryo is a 
more suitable culture system than traditional in vitro culture. Bovine ovaries were retrieved from a local abattoir and cortical pieces (1-2mm3) were randomly assigned to one of the following groups; control (fixed immediately), CAM or in in vitro culture. Ovarian tissue fragments from both groups were removed on D1, D3 and D5 of culture, fixed, sectioned (5μm) and stained with H&E. The numbers of healthy and degenerated follicles, primordial and activated preantral (primary and secondary), and the number of infiltrated bovine and avian blood vessels were determined using standard stereological procedures. All grafts placed on the traumatized CAM demonstrated increased neovascularization over time. The healthy primordial follicle density decreased over time concomitant with an increase in degenerated (primordial and activated preantral) follicles in both treatment groups. Healthy activated preantral follicle density did not differ between the two culture systems at a given time. In CAM group, blood vessel density increased over time (p = 0.015). The second objective of this thesis was to develop a suitable vitrification protocol for bovine ovarian tissue. The viability of bovine ovarian tissue vitrified using two non-permeating cryoprotectants (sucrose and trehalose) and two cryodevices (cryotop and cryovial) was assessed. We hypothesized that during vitrification the higher cooling rate on the cryotop (open vitrification method) will yield better post-thaw viability of bovine ovarian tissue as compared to the cryovial (closed vitrification method). We also hypothesized that trehalose is a superior non-permeating cryoprotectant to sucrose for vitrification of bovine ovarian tissue. The ovarian tissue was fragmented (1-2mm3) and divided into 6 different treatment groups. Tissues were vitrified in TCM199 supplemented with 15% EG, 15% DMSO, 20% calf serum and 0.5M sucrose or trehalose then placed in a cryovial or on a cryotop. After warming, the vitrified tissues were either immediately placed in 10% formalin (control) or on the chorioallantoic membrane of a 10-day old chicken embryo for 5 days. Follicles from control and vitrified tissue were observed under a light microscope for normal morphology and the total, normal and degenerated follicle densities were determined by standard stereological procedures. Sucrose and trehalose did not differ, nor was a difference observed between the cryovial and the cryotop for total, healthy or degenerated follicle density. Proportion of healthy follicles was higher in the control than all treatment tissues grafted to the CAM. All grafts placed on the traumatized CAM demonstrated presence of avian erythrocytes in the blood vessels after 5 days, but no difference was observed for blood vessel density among treatments. Lastly, the cooling rate of bovine ovarian tissue subjected to open and closed system devices for vitrification was evaluated. A thermocouple wire was used to determine the cooling velocity of 1-2mm3 fragments of bovine ovarian tissue placed on a cryotop (open system) or in a sealed cryovial (closed system). The cooling rate of tissues on the cryotop and in the cryovial was 7481±205.9° C/min and 664±26.0° C/min respectively. In conclusion, the CAM supported the bovine ovarian tissue, thus the CAM culture system may be considered an acceptable alternative to traditional in vitro culture system for bovine ovarian tissue. Furthermore, angiogenesis may be an additional indication of ovarian tissue health. The hypotheses of our second study were refuted. Results indicated that sucrose and trehalose, and the cryotop and cryovial were equally effective in vitrifying bovine ovarian tissue.



CAM, cattle, chick embryo, cryodamage, cryotop, cryovial, follicle, in ovo culture, in vitro culture, ovary, sucrose, trehalose, vitrification, , xenograft



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Veterinary Biomedical Sciences


Veterinary Biomedical Sciences


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