Genotoxicity assessment of mouse oocytes by comet assay before vitrification and after warming with three vitrification protocols

Vitrification protocols containing 1,2-propanediol induced significant DNA damage on mouse oocytes before cooling and after warming.

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A. Berthelot-Ricou, M.D., J. Perrin M.D., Ph.D., C. Di Giorgio, Ph.D., M. De Meo, Ph.D., A. Botta, M.D., Pharm.D., Ph.D., B. Courbiere, M.D., Ph.D.

Volume 100, Issue 3, Pages 882-888, September 2013



To assess the genotoxicity of three oocyte vitrification protocols.


Murine assay.


Biogenotoxicology research laboratory.


CD1 female mice.


Three mouse oocyte groups were exposed to three commercialized human oocyte vitrification protocols. Protocols 1 and 2 contained dimethyl sulfoxide and ethylene glycol (EG), and protocol 3 contained EG and 1,2-propanediol (PrOH). DNA damage was first evaluated by comet assay after oocyte exposure to the three different equilibration and vitrification solutions. Comet assay was also performed after full vitrification and warming procedure and compared with a negative control group (oocytes stored in medium culture only) and a positive control group (oocytes exposed to hydrogen peroxide just before comet assay).

Main Outcome Measure(s):

DNA damage was quantified as Olive tail moment (OTM). Statistical analysis consisted of a Shapiro-Wilk test. Then, median protocol OTM was compared with the negative control group with the Mann-Whitney U test. The difference was considered to be statistically significant if the P value was <.05. Result(s):

In both parts of our study, protocols 1 and 2 did not induce significant DNA damage, whereas protocol 3 induced statistically higher DNA damage compared with the negative control group.


Vitrification protocols containing PrOH induced significant DNA damage on mouse oocytes, both before cooling and after warming. Therefore, for the moment, we prefer vitrification techniques without PrOH while we await more studies on PrOH toxicity and long-term evaluation.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility┬« is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.