Mouse spermatozoa can be freeze dried without losing genetic integrity and reproductive potential. However, it is not known if freeze-dried mouse cells similarly maintain their genetic integrity and developmental potential following nuclear transfer. Here, we investigated the developmental capacity and embryonic stem (ES) cell derivation of reconstructed oocytes by nuclear transfer using freeze-dried cumulus or ES cells. Cumulus and ES cells were lyophilized overnight and stored at 4 C for up to 1 week. After rehydration, all cells showed membrane damage and were unviable. However, following nuclear transfer, 1-4% of the reconstructed oocytes developed to the blastocyst stage. A total of five nuclear transfer ES (ntES) cell lines were generated from blastocysts and morulae. All ntES cell lines had normal karyotypes and were positive for the ES-cell-specific markers (alkaline phosphatase, Oct3/4 and Nanog). After aggregation of ntES cells with fertilized embryos, chimeric mice with a high level of coat color chimerism were generated. Our findings show that the genomic integrity of cells can be maintained after freeze-drying and that it is possible to produce offspring from the cells using nuclear transfer techniques.
2008 Society for Reproduction and Development