Cryopreservation of male germ cells is a strategy to conserve animal species and strains of animals valuable to biomedical research. We tested whether mouse male germ cells could be cryopreserved without cryoprotection by simply freezing epididymides, testes, or whole bodies. The reproductive organs were isolated from killed mice and frozen for 1 week to 1 year at –80°C before spermatozoa and spermatids were collected and injected into mature oocytes. Normal pups were born irrespective of strains tested (ICR and C57BL/6). Epididymides and testes frozen and transported internationally to another laboratory by air could produce pups of inbred C57BL/6 mice. Testicular spermatozoa retrieved from the bodies of male mice (BALB/c nude and C3H/He strains) that had been kept frozen (–20°C) for 15 years could also produce normal offspring by microinsemination. Thus, freezing of either male reproductive organs or whole bodies is the simplest way to preserve male germ cells. Restoration of extinct species could be possible if male individuals are found in permafrost.
cryopreservation | gametes | intracytoplasmic sperm injection | microinsemination | mouse
Ogonuki, N., Mochida, K., Miki, H., Inoue, K., Fray, M., Iwaki, T., … Ogura, A. (2006). Spermatozoa and spermatids retrieved from frozen reproductive organs or frozen whole bodies of male mice can produce normal offspring. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103(35), 13098–13103. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0605755103