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Theriogenology. 2009 Jul 15;72(2):219-31. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2009.02.021. Epub 2009 Apr 9.

Premeiotic fetal murine germ cells cultured in vitro form typical oocyte-like cells but do not progress through meiosis.

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Laboratory of Germ Cell Biology, Institute of Animal Reproduction Development and Genetic Engineering, College of Animal Science and Technology, Qingdao Agricultural University, Qingdao, Shandong, China.


A convenient method for fetal murine premeiotic germ cells to develop into oocytes in vitro has been established. Fetal ovaries from mice, collected 12.5 d postcoitus (dpc), were organ-cultured in vitro using a medium for organ growth, and the developmental potential regarding oocyte formation was determined. After 28 d of culture, premeiotic female germ cells developed into oocytes with a mean (+/-SD) diameter of 73.3+/-7.7 microm. However, follicles developed in vitro versus in vivo had fewer granulosa cells (32+/-2.6 vs. 142+/-9.5, respectively; P<0.01), and the ovaries had less mRNA for Cx37 and Cx43 (P<0.01). Oocytes in the first meiotic division phase were isolated from cultured ovaries or after hormone treatments. After exposure to okadaic acid at a final concentration of 1 microM, oocytes derived from premeiotic fetal female germ cells were able to undergo germinal vesicle breakdown but failed to complete the first meiotic division. Furthermore, the intracellular content of GSH in oocytes cultured in vitro was lower than that of oocytes matured in vivo (P<0.01). In conclusion, premeiotic germ cells derived from murine fetuses as early as 12.5 dpc were able to differentiate into germinal vesicle-stage oocytes but were unable to complete meiosis I in vitro.

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