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Theriogenology. 2010 Jan;73(1):112-9. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2009.08.007. Epub 2009 Oct 23.

Oocyte quality and estradiol supplementation affect in vitro maturation success in the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus).

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  • 1Center for Species Survival, Department of Reproductive Sciences, Conservation & Research Center, Smithsonian's National Zoological Park, Front Royal, Virginia, USA.


White-tailed deer oocyte biology is not well documented. The objective of this study was to determine (1) the influence of estradiol (E(2)) supplementation on meiotic resumption and the ability to "rescue" poorer quality (lower grade) oocytes and (2) the kinetics of oocyte nuclear maturation in vitro in the white-tailed deer. In Experiment 1, immature oocytes harvested during hunting-culling operations were cultured for 24h in the presence or absence of E(2). Incubation in 1mug/mL E(2) promoted nuclear maturation (to telophase I, TI; or to metaphase II, MII) in a higher proportion of Grade 1 oocytes ( approximately 77%; P<0.05) compared with that in Grade 2 or Grade 3 counterparts ( approximately 51%). For Grades 2 and 3 oocytes, there was no advantage (P>0.05) for E(2) supplementation in reaching TI/MII. In Experiment 2, Grade 1 oocytes were cultured in the presence of E(2) and nuclear status evaluated at 0, 3, 6, 12, and 24h of in vitro incubation. At 0h,>70% of oocytes already had undergone germinal vesicle breakdown. After 12h, approximately 70% of oocytes had reached metaphase I of nuclear maturation, with approximately 75% achieving TI/MII by 24h in vitro. In summary, adding E(2) to an in vitro maturation (IVM) culture system for white-tailed deer was advantageous, but only for the highest quality oocytes, with approximately 75% achieving nuclear maturation. In contrast, E(2) supplement did not benefit lower-grade oocytes, half of which will reach MII, with the other half failing. Under the described culture conditions, good-quality white-tailed deer oocytes achieve nuclear maturation over a time duration comparable with that reported in other ungulates.

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