Maturation, fertilization, and development of marmoset monkey oocytes in vitro

R B Gilchrist, P L Nayudu, J K Hodges
Biology of Reproduction 1997, 56 (1): 238-46
This study was conducted to investigate 1) the capacity of in vitro-matured (IVM) marmoset oocytes to be fertilized and to support embryonic development in vitro and 2) oocyte meiotic maturation in relation to in vivo FSH administration, follicle size, and oocyte-cumulus cell status. Pairs of ovaries were collected on Day 4 of the follicular phase from adult females receiving either 1) human FSH (3 IU; n = 5) or 2) control (saline; n = 5) daily for 4 days. Antral follicles were excised from ovaries and separated into classes according to size: class 1 (660-840 microm), class 2 (> 840-1000 microm), class 3 (> 1000-1400 microm), and class 4 (> 1400 microm). A total of 823 partially naked and cumulus-enclosed oocytes (CEOs) were released from follicles and cultured in vitro. Cumulus cells remaining after 22 h were removed, metaphase II (MII) oocytes were inseminated with epididymal sperm, and resulting embryos were cultured until developmental arrest. Fluorescence microscopy was used to assess oocyte meiotic and embryo developmental progression. Oocyte germinal vesicle breakdown (GVB)- and MII-competencies increased significantly with follicular size (p < 0.01 and p < 0.0001, respectively), although they were independent of oocyte-cumulus cell associations. After 24 and 32 h in vitro, 69% and 93%, respectively, of CEOs with MII competence had completed meiotic maturation, and the rate of nuclear maturation increased progressively with follicle size (p < 0.01) and with the association of cumulus cells (p < 0.01). In vivo FSH priming slightly improved oocyte GVB- and MII-competencies (p < 0.01 and p < 0.05, respectively) and decreased the time required to achieve MII (p < 0.01). IVM oocytes from all follicle sizes fertilized (78-92%) in vitro, with 27% developing to morula- and 4% to blastocyst-stage embryos. This study demonstrates for the first time that IVM New World primate oocytes are able to support advanced preimplantation embryonic development in vitro. Oocyte meiotic competence and the time course of nuclear maturation are profoundly influenced by their follicular origin, and marginally by FSH treatment.

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