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Department for Cryobiology
of Reproduction System
Research Fellows:

Department for Cryobiology of Reproduction System was established in 1984. Head of the Department till 2011 was Valentin Grischenko, Academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Merited Scientist and Technical worker of Ukraine, Winner of State Prizes of the USSR, UkrSSR, Ukraine and State Award of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine named after A.A. Bogomolets, V.F. Snegirev's Prize. Now the Department is headed by Dr. Eugeniy Kopeika.

The tasks of the department in fundamental aspects embrace studying the effect mechanisms of cryopreservation and hypothermia factors on gametes, embryos, embryonic and fetal cells. Basing on the data obtained while solving the mentioned tasks the scientists of the department carry out crucial in a practical aspect investigations. In particular, they deal with the elaboration of highly effective cryopreservation methods of the bioobjects mentioned and reparation of non-lethal damages in them after the storage under low temperatures. Also, a great part of the department work is dedicated to the investigations on studying the clinical efficacy of the application of both cryopreserved and stored under hypothermia bioobjects.

Along with performing the R&D topics the Department succeeded to win for many times the State and International Grants and performed joint investigations with the scientists of Israel, Hungary, Bulgaria, France, Great Britain, Germany.

During the time passed at the department there were obtained 3 Doctor's and 19 candidate's degrees. Nowadays 2 doctor's theses and 4 candidate's ones are under preparation. Collaborators of the Department have been and are the scholarship winners of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

The Department scientists there have issued more than 500 publications, being also the co-authors of 11 monographs and 52 author's certificates and patents.

V.I. Grischenko being the Head of the Department created the novel actual trend in reproductive medicine and cryobiology: studying the possibility of the use of ultra-rapid freezing in the medium of

multi-component cryoprotectant for human sperm and embryos, which is known to be the unique experience in the world.Using this method enabled to create at the Institute (V.I. Grischenko, Luchko N.A., Kalugin Yu.V., Kuchkov I.N.) [1-4] the first in Ukraine cryobank of donor sperm, the material from which is used by the major part of Infertility Centers in Ukraine.

Scientists of the Department study the effect on human spermatozoa of both high and low freezing rates, as well as conduct the research aimed to optimization of the content of cryoprotective and rehabilitative media. Depending on thee cryopreservation regimen (Grischenko V.I., Luchko N.A., Kalugin Yu.V., Kuchkov I.N., Dunaevskaya A.V., Yurchenko G.G.) [2-6].

In addition to cryopreservation, we investigate the biological integrity of spermatozoa (Kramar M.I., Alekseevskaya E.I., Terpyachaya I.V., Yurchenko G.G., Tchub N.N., Pinyaev V.I.) [7-9] and human embryos (Grischenko V.I., Tchoob N.N.) [10]stored under hypothermia conditions. There has been elaborated the method for a short term hypothermic storage of human spermatozoa to be used when treating infertility using assisting reproductive technologies (artificial intrauterine insemination, in-vitro fertilization)..

The data accumulated enabled the scientists (Grischenko V.I., Alekseevskaya E.I.) [11] to set the concept of cryorenewal of biological objects according to which we succeeded not only to preserve, but also to improve their quality.

One of the aspects of the research work at the department is the search for the stimulation methods of biological activity of native and cryopreserved human sperm (Kramar M.I., Alekseevskaya E.I., Tchoob N.N.) [7].

In 1987 the scientists of the Department (Grischenko V.I., Dakhno F.V., Tchoob N.N., Pinaev V.I.) initiated the work on human oocyte in vitro fertilization, as a result in 1991 there was born the first girl, the conception of who was accomplished out of the mother's organism.

The investigations performed at the Department greatly contributed the studying the effect of cryoprotectants and freezing regimens on human embryos (Petrushko M.P.) [12]. Zygotes being frozen in 18 hours from the moment of oocytes insemination, were established to be the most cryosensitive ones. Slow cooling with 1.2-propanediol was shown to be the optimum to preserve early-stage embryos. There was for the first time found the influence of cryoprotectants of high concentrations and certain freezing regimens on the appearance of chromosome aberrations, meiosis and mitosis pathologies, changes of synthetic processes in DNA-RNA-protein system in human gametes (Petrushko M.P.) [12], there was introduced the method for cytogenetic analysis of non-fertilized oocytes and embryos to reveal the failures during IVF program There were chosen the optimal cryopreservation conditions for human embryos of different development stages. As a result of the investigations in 2003 there was born the first in Ukraine child after the transfer to woman of frozen-thawed embryos [13-14].

In gametes, fish and bird embryos the group of scientists of the Department (Prof. Kopeika E.F., Drokin S.I., Cherepanov V.V., Dzuba B.B.) there have been accomplished the investigations in the following directions:

  • biology of gametes maturation;
  • mechanisms for cell cryodamages and cryoresistance;
  • studying the effect of cryoprotectants on cells, of multi-component cryoprotective media and cryopreservation regimens;
  • optimisation of the composition of cryoprotective media and cryopreservation, freeze-thawing and insemination regimens;
  • reparation of cryodamages.

As a result there were elaborated the ways of sturgeon sperm cryopreservation (Pushkar et al., 1976; Kopeika E.F., Novikov, 1983) [15-17], of carp (Kopeika E.F., 1986) [18]and salmon (Zheltonozhko O.V., Zheltonozhko V.V., Cherepanov V.V., Petrenko A.Yu, 1996) [19],being used while creating the first in former USSR two fish sperm banks in Russia and Ukraine (Kopeika E.F. et al., 1989) [20]and during the establishing of salmon sperm cryobank of Kamchatka.There was elaborated the method for sturgeon sperm hypothermic storage (Blokhin C.V., Kopeika E.F.) [22-24], as well as the role of oocyte in reparation of cryodamages (Kopeika J. et al., 2003) [25]. There were studied the metabolic processes of carp and salmon sperm prior to and following cryopreservation (Cherepanov V.V., Dzuba B.B., Kopeika E.F.) [26-27].There was established the link of sperm cryoresistance with the spawning medium tonicity and cholesterol/lipids ratio in membranes (Drokin S.I., Kopeika E.F., Grischenko V.I., 1989) [28], and with changes in cells volume (Dzuba B.B., Kopeika E.F., 2002) [29].When studying the mechanism of a rainbow trout spermatozoa cryodamage on cell membrane surface there was found an ultra-rapid lateral diffusion of membrane particles and cluster formation (Drokin S., Stein H., Bartscherer H. , 1998) [30].


23, Pereyaslavskaya str., Kharkov, Ukraine 61016
Institute for Problems of Cryobiology and Cryomedicine of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Tel: +380 57 373 4143,   373 3807,   373 3039;     Fax: +380 57 373 3084
E-mail: cryo@online.kharkov.ua