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Drugs needed to preserve eggs for reproduction need to be given in stages
Date:4/29/2009

cent years as scientists learn more about how best to give and remove the drugs including using more than one at a time with the idea that they may work synergistically and hopefully with reduced toxicity.

Scientists also are taking important cues from critters with an innate ability to preserve themselves. Increasingly added to the mix of manmade cryoprotectants are sugars, which are used by a variety of species, such as brine shrimp and eight-legged tardigrades, a microscopic water-dweller also known as "water bears," to survive drought conditions. Scientists like Dr. Eroglu, are showing that these sugars, such as trehalose used by tardigrades, also can help humans, monkeys and other species that don't naturally produce them.

With human egg preservation, the sugars currently are placed in the medium along with the cryoprotectants, where it appears to work some magic. Sugar can't permeate a cell membrane so high concentrations in the medium reduce the amount of fluid that moves inside the egg. Too much fluid causes the egg to swell and potentially burst. Almost paradoxically, because sugar thickens the medium, it helps put pressure on the cell to move cryoprotectants out when it's time.

Animals likely use sugars this way and to transform to a glasslike state. Those that naturally produce sugars have transporters that enable it to be outside and inside their cells, where it appears to afford additional protection. Dr. Eroglu has given mice eggs that added protection by injecting sugar in a process similar to how sperm can be injected for fertilization. He's found it dramatically reduces the temperature needed to reach the glasslike preserved state. In fact, he's shown trehalose can enable eggs to move into a glasslike state at -30 degrees Celsius compared to -80 C, -100 C or even colder temperatures required with only conventional cryoprotectants.

That means eggs can be stored and transported much more easily. "With conventio
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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@mcg.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert  

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