Gene expression analysis of ovine prepubertal testicular tissue vitrified with a novel cryodevice (E.Vit)

Abstract

Purpose

Testicular tissue cryopreservation prior to gonadotoxic therapies is a method to preserve fertility in children. However, the technique still requires development, especially when the tissue is immature and rather susceptible to stress derived from in vitro manipulation. This study aimed to investigate the effects of vitrification with a new cryodevice (E.Vit) on cell membrane integrity and gene expression of prepubertal testicular tissue in the ovine model.

Methods

Pieces of immature testicular tissue (1 mm3) were inserted into “E.Vit” devices and vitrified with a two-step protocol. After warming, tissues were cultured in vitro and cell membrane integrity was assessed after 0, 2, and 24 h by trypan blue exclusion test. Controls consisted of non-vitrified tissue analyzed after 0, 2, and 24 h in vitro culture (IVC). Expression of genes involved in transcriptional stress response (BAX, SOD1, CIRBP, HSP90AB1), cell proliferation (KIF11), and germ- (ZBDB16, TERT, POU5F1, KIT) and somatic- (AR, FSHR, STAR) cell specific markers was evaluated 2 and 24 h after warming.

Results

Post-warming trypan blue staining showed the survival of most cells, although membrane integrity immediately after warming (66.00% ± 4.73) or after 2 h IVC (59.67% ± 4.18) was significantly lower than controls (C0h 89.67% ± 1.45). Extended post-warming IVC (24 h) caused an additional decrease to 31% ± 3.46 (P < 0.05). Germ- and somatic-cell specific markers showed the survival of both cell types after cryopreservation and IVC. All genes were affected by cryopreservation and/or IVC, and moderate stress conditions were indicated by transcriptional stress response.

Conclusions

Vitrification with the cryodevice E.Vit is a promising strategy to cryopreserve prepubertal testicular tissue.

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Funding

Research was supported by Regione Autonoma della Sardegna.- L.R. 7-MIGLIOVINGENSAR Project and by Bando Competitivo Fondazione di Sardegna – 2016, CUP J86C18000800005.

DB is the recipient of an RTDa contract at the University of Sassari, Italy, granted by “P.O.R. SARDEGNA F.S.E. 2014–2020” – CUP J86C18000270002.

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Correspondence to Daniela Bebbere.

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Bebbere, D., Pinna, S., Nieddu, S. et al. Gene expression analysis of ovine prepubertal testicular tissue vitrified with a novel cryodevice (E.Vit). J Assist Reprod Genet 36, 2145–2154 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10815-019-01559-x

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Keywords

  • Cryopreservation
  • Testicular tissue
  • Gene expression
  • Prepubertal
  • In vitro culture