Effect of ovarian superstimulation on COC collection and maturation in alpacas

Marcelo Ratto, Constanza Gomez, Marco Berland, Gregg P Adams
Animal Reproduction Science 2007, 97 (3): 246-56
The objective of the present study was to compare the ovarian follicular response, cumulus-oocyte complex (COC) collection rate, and maturational status of COC collected from alpacas subsequent to treatment with two different superstimulatory protocols. Alpacas (n=7 per group) were treated with: (1) 200mg of FSH im divided bid for 3d, plus a single i.v. dose of 1000IU hCG 24h after the last FSH treatment, or (2) 1200IU of eCG as a single i.m. dose, plus a single i.v. dose of 1000IU of hCG on day 3 after eCG treatment (day 0=start of superstimulatory treatment). At 20-24h post-hCG treatment, the ovaries were surgically exposed and COC were collected by needle aspiration of all follicles > or =6mm. The FSH and eCG treatment groups did not differ with respect to the number of follicles > or =6mm at the time of COC collection (20.0+/-7.5 versus 27.0+/-3.3; P=0.5), the number of COC collected (26.2+/-8.4 versus 23.3+/-3.7; P=0.7), or the collection rate per follicle aspirated (89% versus 87%; P=0.7). No differences were detected between FSH- and eCG-treated alpacas in the number of expanded COC collected per alpaca (11.5+/-2.9 versus 8.8+/-2.8; P=0.54), the number of expanded COC in metaphase II (8.5+/-1.9 versus 6.0+/-2.1; P=0.1), or the number of compact COC with > or =3 layers of cumulus cells (12.5+/-4.3 versus 14.3+/-2.6; P=0.72). A greater proportion (P<0.05) of compact COC collected after FSH treatment matured in vitro to the metaphase II stage than after eCG treatment. Eight expanded alpaca COC were fertilized in vitro with llama sperm, three of which were fixed and stained 18h after exposure to sperm and five were cultured in vitro. Two of the three stained oocytes were in the pronuclear stage, and all five of the cultured oocytes developed to the two-cell and morula stages at 2 and 7 days, respectively, after in vitro fertilization. In summary, FSH and eCG treatments were equally effective for ovarian superstimulation and oocyte collection. Cumulus-oocyte complexes were collected from more than 80% of follicles aspirated during laparotomy. Nearly one third of the COC collected after superstimulation were in metaphase II, and more than 70% of the remaining COC progressed to metaphase II after in vitro maturation for 26h, bringing the mean number of oocytes available for in vitro fertilization to 16 per alpaca. Preliminary results support the hypothesis that alpaca oocytes obtained after superstimulation in the absence of progesterone are developmentally competent since morulae developed from all five COC fertilized and cultured in vitro.

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