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The present study sought to determine the effect of adding l-ascorbic acid (AC) to (1) in vitro culture medium and (2) vitrification and warming solutions on redox status and developmental ability and quality of IVP porcine embryos. In both experiments, embryo quality was analysed in terms of total cell number (TCN), DNA fragmentation, intracellular peroxide levels and expression of three oxidative stress-related genes: glutathione peroxidase 1 (GPX1), superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) and 2 (SOD2). In the first experiment, fresh blastocysts were found to upregulate SOD1 expression when cultured with medium supplemented 100 μM AC. No differences were found between culture groups in the other analysed parameters. In the second experiment, blastocysts cultured with or without AC were divided into two groups: vitrified and warmed with solutions containing 0 or 100 μM AC. Addition of AC during culture and vitrification-warming upregulated the expression of GPX1 and SOD1 genes, enhanced survival rates and decreased peroxide levels at 24h post-warming. In addition, peroxide levels were negatively correlated with relative GPX1- and SOD1-transcript abundances, whereas GPX1 was positively correlated with embryo survival at 24h post-warming. No effects of AC-supplementation were seen for TCN, DNA fragmentation or relative SOD2-transcript abundance in vitrified blastocysts. In conclusion, the addition of AC to culture and vitrification-warming media increases gene expression of antioxidant enzymes SOD1 and GPX1. This appears to improve redox balance and is suggested to ultimately enhance embryo cryosurvival.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





451 - 458


Blastocysts, Cryosurvival, Cryotop, GPX1, In vitro produced, ROS levels, SOD1, SOD2, Animals, Antioxidants, Ascorbic Acid, Blastocyst, Cryopreservation, Culture Media, Fertilization in Vitro, Glutathione Peroxidase, Oxidation-Reduction, Reactive Oxygen Species, Superoxide Dismutase, Swine, Up-Regulation, Vitrification