Uterus cryopreservation in the sheep: one step closer to uterus transplantation

In Vivo. Sep-Oct 2010;24(5):629-34.


Background: Uterus transplantation is the only way for women with no functional uterus to become pregnant. However, the technique is limited by the fact that an aggressive immunosuppression is necessary in order to avoid rejection of the graft. For better chances of finding a matching organ, which would minimize the immunosuppressive therapy, the establishment of cryobanks with a large number of uteri would be helpful. The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility to cryopreserve sheep uteri and to review the literature in this exciting new field of uterus cryopreservation and transplantation.

Material and methods: Ten sheep uteri were frozen either with slow cooling after perfusion with 10% dimethylsulfoxide, or without perfusion and the contractile ability was compared with that of fresh uteri.

Results: All perfused uteri showed contractions after thawing, similar to those of the non-frozen uteri.

Conclusion: This study shows that the perfusion of sheep uterus with a cryoprotectant prior to slow freezing allows the cryopreservation of the whole organ and maintains the functionality of the organ after thawing. The perfused sheep uterus provides an experimental model for further investigations with other cryoprotective agents and freezing protocols.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Survival
  • Cryopreservation* / instrumentation
  • Cryopreservation* / methods
  • Cryopreservation* / trends
  • Cryoprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / pharmacology
  • Female
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Organ Transplantation*
  • Oxytocics / pharmacology
  • Oxytocin / pharmacology
  • Perfusion / instrumentation
  • Perfusion / methods
  • Pressure
  • Sheep
  • Tissue Banks / trends*
  • Uterine Contraction / drug effects
  • Uterus / cytology*
  • Uterus / physiology
  • Uterus / transplantation*


  • Cryoprotective Agents
  • Oxytocics
  • Oxytocin
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide