Storage time does not modify the gene expression profile of cryopreserved human metaphase II oocytes

Sara Stigliani, Stefano Moretti, Paola Anserini, Ida Casciano, Pier Luigi Venturini, Paola Scaruffi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


STUDY QUESTION Does storage time have any impact on the transcriptome of slowly frozen cryopreserved human metaphase II (MII) oocytes? SUMMARY ANSWER The length of cryostorage has no effect on the gene expression profile of human MII oocytes. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY Oocyte cryopreservation is a widely used technique in IVF for storage of surplus oocytes, as well as for fertility preservation (i.e. women undergoing gonadotoxic therapies) and oocyte donation programs. Although cryopreservation has negative impacts on oocyte physiology and it is associated with decrease of transcripts, no experimental data about the effect of storage time on the oocyte molecular profile are available to date. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION This study included 27 women, ≤38 years aged, without any ovarian pathology, undergoing IVF treatment. Surplus MII oocytes were donated after written informed consent. A total of 31 non-cryopreserved oocytes and 68 surviving slow-frozen/rapid-thawed oocytes (32 oocytes cryostored for 3 years and 36 cryostored for 6 years) were analyzed. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS Pools of ≈10 oocytes for each group were prepared. Total RNA was extracted from each pool, amplified, labeled and hybridized on oligonucleotide microarrays. Analyses were performed by R software using the limma package. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE Comparison of gene expression profiles between surviving thawed oocytes after 3 and 6 years of storage in liquid nitrogen found no differently expressed genes. The expression profiles of cryopreserved MII oocytes significantly differed from those of non-cryopreserved oocytes in 107 probe sets corresponding to 73 down-regulated and 29 up-regulated unique transcripts. Gene Ontology analysis by DAVID bioinformatics resource disclosed that cryopreservation deregulates genes involved in oocyte function and early embryo development, such as chromosome organization, RNA splicing and processing, cell cycle, cellular response to DNA damage and to stress, DNA repair, calcium ion binding, malate dehydrogenase activity and mitochondrial activity. Among the probes significantly up-regulated in cryopreserved oocytes, two corresponded to ovary-specific expressed large intergenic noncoding (linc)RNAs. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION Data validation in a larger cohort of samples would be beneficial, although we applied stringent criteria for gene selection (fold-change >3 or

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2519-2526
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - May 26 2015


  • gene expression
  • human MII oocyte
  • microarray
  • slow freezing cryopreservation
  • storage time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Reproductive Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Storage time does not modify the gene expression profile of cryopreserved human metaphase II oocytes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this