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Mol Reprod Dev. 1998 Nov;51(3):281-6.

In vitro and in vivo survival of frozen-thawed bovine oocytes after IVF, nuclear transfer, and parthenogenetic activation.

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Laboratory of Cell Genetics and Embryo Transfer, Kagoshima Prefectural Cattle Breeding Development Institute, Japan.


Cryopreservation of bovine oocytes would be beneficial both for nuclear transfer and for preservation efforts. The overall objective of this study was to evaluate the viability as well as the cryodamage to the nucleus vs. cytoplasm of bovine oocytes following freezing-thawing of oocytes at immature (GV) and matured (MII) stages using in vitro fertilization (IVF), parthenogenetic activation, or nuclear transfer assays. Oocytes were collected from slaughterhouse ovaries. Oocytes at the GV, MII, or MII but enucleated (MIIe) stages were cryopreserved in 5% (v/v) ethylene glycol; 6% (v/v) 1,2-propanediol; and 0.1-M sucrose in PBS supplemented with 20% (v/v) fetal bovine serum. Frozen-thawed oocytes were subjected to IVF, parthenogenetic activation, or nuclear transfer assays. Significantly fewer GV oocytes survived (i.e., remained morphologically intact during freezing-thawing) than did MII oocytes (47% vs. 84%). Subsequent development of the surviving frozen-thawed GV and MII oocytes was not different (58% and 60% cleavage development; 7% and 12% blastocyst development at Day 9, respectively, P > 0.05). Parthenogenetic activation of frozen-thawed oocytes resulted in significantly lower rates of blastocyst development for the GV than the MII oocyte groups (1% vs. 14%). Nuclear transfer with cytoplasts derived from frozen-thawed GV, MII, MIIe, and fresh-MII control oocytes resulted in 5%, 16%, 14%, and 17% blastocyst development, respectively. However, results of preliminary embryo transfer trials showed that fewer pregnancies were produced from cloned embryos derived from frozen oocytes or cytoplasts (9%, n = 11 embryos) than from fresh ones (19%, n = 21 embryos). Transfer of embryos derived by IVF from cryopreserved GV and MII oocytes also resulted in term development of calves. Our results showed that both GV and MII oocytes could survive freezing and were capable of developing into offspring following IVF or nuclear transfer. However, blastocyst development of frozen-thawed oocytes remains poorer than that of fresh oocytes, and our nuclear transfer assay suggests that this poorer development was likely caused by cryodamage to the oocyte cytoplasm as well as to the nucleus.

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