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This chapter discuses the protocol development and clinical application of aseptic vitrification of human blastocysts. For non-aseptic embryo carrier, the Hemi-straw is used as an embryo carrier device. Vitrisafe is used as an aseptic embryo carrier. The chapter presents the results for the development of an aseptic vitrification protocol. Before an aseptic vitrification is implemented into a routine clinical program, two issues have to be solved to design an embryo carrier device allowing cooling and storage without contact with LN2. The first issue is to be able to achieve and maintain conditions within the embryos that guarantee an amorphous state throughout the cooling as well during the warming process. The second issue concerns the determination of a protocol for exposing blastocysts to cryoprotectants (CPAs) before vitrification in conditions where cooling rates are reduced because of the heat-insulating barrier of the straw in which the blastocysts are kept.
George T. Taylor, Behavioral Neuroscience Group University of Missouri – St. Louis 8001 Natural Bridge Rd. St. Louis, MO 63121 USA,
Juergen Weiss, Center for Biomedicine University of Heidelberg INF 347 D-69120 Heidelberg Germany,
Frank Zimmermann, Center for Biomedicine University of Heidelberg INF 347 D-69120 Heidelberg Germany
A neuroscientist embarking on a study of reproduction is eminently aware that an animal model chosen must consider gender differences and the endocrine factors determining them. Neuroscientists embarking on a study of function unrelated to reproduction may require the same consideration. It is now clear that gonadal hormones are important contributors to sex differences in a wide array of non-reproductive brain activities.
This conclusion has emerged from studies with animal models, sometimes unexpectedly when the experimental paradigm has included both males and females as subjects. Other findings of sex differences were observed first in human populations that suggested further study with animal models.
This review is a sampling of the remarkable variety of sex differences uncovered in adult brain function of which a neuroscientist may be unaware. A recent personal experience serves as an example. A respected colleague mentioned a new project to be conducted in her laboratory using an animal model of neuropathic pain. The interest was on a hypothesized acute attenuation of pain from treatments with a glutamate antagonist. Because the animal colony had an abundance of female rats, the subjects were to be groups of females. The assumption was that the topic had little relevance to reproduction and reproductive hormones, and any findings could be generalized equally to both sexes. Yet, there are reasons to question both assumptions. Both pain and glutamatergic pathways are influenced by sex hormones, and males and females may respond quite differently.
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