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Zygote. 2000 Feb;8(1):69-77.

Optimisation of porcine oocyte activation following nuclear transfer.

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Department of Animal Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia 65211, USA.


Experiments were conducted to examine the effects of (a) different activation methods, (b) incubation time in calcium-free medium and (c) bisbenzimide staining on the activation and subsequent development of pig oocytes. Oocytes were matured in vitro and activated by one of the following methods: combined thimerosal/dithiothreitol (DTT) treatment, calcium ionophore A23187 treatment followed by incubation in the presence of 6-dimethylaminopurine (6-DMAP), electroporation, and electroporation followed by incubation with cytochalasin B. There were no significant differences in the activation rate (ranging from 70.0% to 88.3%) and the percentage of cleaved embryos after activation (ranging between 48.8% and 58.8%) among the four treatment groups (p < 0.05). The rate of development of the blastocyst stage in oocytes activated by thimerosal/DTT (10.0%) or electroporation followed by cytochalasin B treatment (12.3%) was significantly higher (p < 0.05) than in the group activated with A23187/6-DMAP (2.5%). Both the activation rate and the rate of blastocyst formation in oocytes that were incubated in Ca(2+)-free medium for 8 h before thimerosal/DTT activation were significantly lower (p < 0.05) than in those incubated for 0, 1 or 4 h. Intracellular Ca2+ measurements revealed that the Ca2+ homeostasis in these oocytes were severely altered. Staining of oocytes with 5 micrograms/ml bisbenzimide for 2 h decreased the quality of blastocysts and increased the rate of degenerated embryos at day 6. Two activation protocols (thimerosal/DTT and electroproation) were used for activation after nuclear transfer; the rate of nuclear formation did not differ in the oocytes activated by the two different methods.

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