Survival and meiotic competence of bovine oocytes originating from early antral ovarian follicles

H Alm, L Katska-Ksiazkiewicz, B Ryńska, A Tuchscherer
Theriogenology 2006 April 15, 65 (7): 1422-34
The aim of the present study was to examine the growth and survival in culture, and the subsequent meiotic competence, of bovine oocytes recovered from early antral ovarian follicles. Follicles isolated by microdissection of the ovarian slices were sorted into two size groups: (I) 0.2-0.5 mm diameter; and (II) 0.4-0.7 mm diameter. Group I follicles were cultured intact while in Group II, cumulus-oocyte complexes with pieces of parietal granulosa were dissected from the follicles and cultured. Follicles or cumulus-oocyte complexes with parietal granulose were embedded in collagen gel and cultured in TCM 199 supplemented with 3% BSA and 4 mM hypoxanthine for 14 days (Group I) or 7-10 days (Group II). After this, cumulus-oocyte complexes were recovered from the gel. Oocytes that had lost the majority of the cumulus were fixed immediately after recovery. Cumulus-oocyte complexes showing normal morphology were either fixed immediately or were subjected to IVM for an additional 24h, and then were fixed. At the end of the growth culture, 57.6% of the compact COCs in Group I follicles were preserved in the GV configuration, 16.7% had resumed meiosis, and 25.8% were degenerated or did not show detectable chromatin. After IVM, the proportion of oocytes resuming meiosis increased significantly (from 16.7% versus 42.7%; P < 0.05), and 9.1% of all oocytes had reached TI or MII. The isolated cumulus-oocyte complexes in Group II began creating follicle-like structures following 24 h of growth culture (7.1%). The proportion of these structures reached 50.8% on days 2-3, and then gradually decreased due to degeneration. On day 10 only 5.8% of cumulus-oocyte complexes were classified as intact. Of the cumulus intact oocytes recovered from the newly created follicle-like structures at 7-10 days, 54.7% were in the germinal vesicle stage, 31.0% underwent germinal vesicle breakdown, 14.3% were degenerated or the chromatin configuration was not detectable. After 24 h of IVM, 67.6% of oocytes had resumed meiosis, and 21.6% of all oocytes had reached TI and MII. These results show that isolated early follicles and cumulus-oocyte complexes from intact early antral follicles can grow in culture and can develop meiotic competence.

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