JOURNAL ARTICLE

Developmental competence of bovine oocytes: effects of follicle size and the phase of follicular wave on in vitro embryo production

M Machatkova, K Krausova, E Jokesova, M Tomanek
Theriogenology 2004 January 15, 61 (2): 329-35
14662132
Developmental competence of bovine oocytes collected from follicles of different size categories (in either the growth or the dominant phase of the first follicular wave) was studied, with the aim of improving in vitro embryo production. Estrus and ovulation of 39 cyclic Holstein dairy cows were synchronized by two prostaglandin F2alpha treatments at 11-day intervals and one hCG treatment on the day of onset of estrus (Day 0). Cows with follicles in either the growth (Day 3, n=25) or the dominant phase (Day 7, n=14) were slaughtered, and follicles >5 mm were counted. Three oocyte populations were recovered separately from large (11-15 mm), medium (6-10 mm) and small (2-5 mm) follicles in both follicular phases. All collected cumulus-oocyte complexes (COC), except for markedly atretic oocytes without cumulus cells, were used in experiments. Oocytes were matured, fertilized and cultured by standard methods. There were no significant differences between the growth and the dominant phases for mean numbers of large follicles, usable oocytes and embryos per donor. Generally, those numbers were low, but the development rates of oocytes into blastocysts were high, particularly in the growth phase (60.0%). Mean (+/- S.E.M.) numbers of medium follicles, oocytes and embryos per donor were higher in the growth as compared with the dominant phase; in the usable oocytes and embryos, this difference was significant (9.6 +/- 1.4 and 3.5 +/- 0.6 versus 3.9 +/- 0.6 and 1.1 +/- 0.3; P<0.01). The development rates of oocytes into blastocysts, however, did not differ significantly between the growth and the dominant phases (36.7% versus 27.8%). Mean numbers of usable oocytes and embryos per donor recovered from small follicles in both follicular wave phases were similar. The development rate of oocytes into blastocysts was generally low, but higher (P<0.01) in the growth than in the dominant phase (24.5% versus 11.7%). Comparison between the two phases showed that mean number of all counted follicles and all usable oocytes collected per donor were similar, but the mean number of embryos per donor and the development rate of oocytes into blastocysts were higher in the growth phase than in the dominant phase (8.0 +/- 1.2 versus 3.8 +/- 2.4; P=0.012 and 30.3% versus 14.9%; P<0.01). The interaction between follicle size and the phase of follicular wave affected the efficiency of embryo production. The yield of embryos was primarily influenced by the number of oocytes collected from medium follicles and the developmental competence of oocytes from small follicles. The growth phase was more effective for oocyte collection; the number of oocytes from medium follicles and the developmental competence of oocytes from small follicles decreased in the dominant phase.

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