Follicle size-dependent effects of sow follicular fluid on in vitro cumulus expansion, nuclear maturation and blastocyst formation of sow cumulus oocytes complexes

Omran Algriany, Mart Bevers, Eric Schoevers, Ben Colenbrander, Steph Dieleman
Theriogenology 2004, 62 (8): 1483-97
Follicular fluid from 2 to 4 and 5 to 8 mm diameter non-atretic follicles (SFF and LFF, respectively) of sows was added during IVM of cumulus oocytes complexes (COCs) to study its effects on cumulus expansion, nuclear maturation, and subsequent fertilization and embryo development in presence or absence of recombinant human FSH. COCs aspirated from 2 to 5 mm follicles of sow ovaries, were cultured for the first 22 h in TCM-199 and 100 microM cysteamine, with or without 10% pFF and/or 0.05 IU/ml recombinant hFSH. For the next 22 h, the COCs were cultured in the same medium, but without pFF and FSH. After culture, cumulus cells were removed and the oocytes were either fixed and stained to evaluate nuclear stages or co-incubated with fresh sperm. Twenty-four hours after fertilization, presumptive zygotes were fixed to examine fertilization or cultured for 6 days to allow blastocyst formation. Subsequently, embryos were evaluated and the blastocysts were fixed and stained to determine cell numbers. When LFF was added to maturation medium, cumulus expansion and percentage of nuclear maturation (277 +/- 61 microm and 72%, respectively) of COCs were significantly higher (P < 0.05) than those in SFF (238 +/- 33 microm and 55%, respectively). However, in the presence of FSH both FF stimulated cumulus expansion and nuclear maturation to a similar degree. No differences were observed with regards to sperm penetration, male pronucleus formation, and to polyspermia between fertilized oocytes matured either in SFF or LFF. Fertilized oocytes matured in the presence of LFF without or with FSH showed a higher cleavage (45 +/- 7% and 51 +/- 7%, respectively) and blastocyst (14 +/- 4% and 22 +/- 6%, respectively) formation rate compared to SFF (cleavage, 35 +/- 8% and 41 +/- 4%, blastocyst: 8 +/- 3 and 13 +/-3, respectively; P < 0.05). The mean number of cells per blastocyst did not differ significantly between treatments. These findings indicate that factor(s) within follicles at later stages of development play an important role during oocyte maturation and thereby enhance developmental competence to occur.

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