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Activation of Zona-Free Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) Oocytes by Chemical or Electrical stimulation, and Subsequent Parthenogenetic Embryo Development

George, A., Shah, RA, Sharma, R., Palta, P., Singla, SK, Manik, RS, Chauhan, MS
Reproduction in domestic animals 2011 v.46 no.3 pp. 444-447
blastocyst, buffaloes, calcium, electrical treatment, embryogenesis, ethanol, models, oocytes, parthenogenesis
Parthenogenetic activation using zona-free oocytes offers an alternative model that could be applied to develop protocols for the activation of reconstructed embryos for cloning. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of different methods for the activation of zona-free buffalo oocytes in terms of their effects on the developmental competence of parthenogenetic embryos. The effects of zona removal on parthenogenetic activation and in vitro developmental competence of metaphase II oocytes were also examined. All activation methods were followed by incubation of 2 mm 6-dimethylaminopurine (6-DMAP) for 4 h. Out of three different pulse strengths (1.2, 2.1 or 3.3 kV/cm) used, 2.1 kV/cm resulted in the highest blastocyst rate (25.3%). On comparing different chemical agents and electric pulse, highest blastocyst rate was observed for calcium ionophore (CaI) (28.6%) followed by ethanol (25.0%), electric pulse (22.5%) and combined CaI and ethanol treatment (16.7%) although differences among them were not significant. Furthermore, a significantly reduced developmental potential was observed in zona-free oocytes when compared to zona-intact ones up to the blastocyst stage (44.3% vs 27.1%). In conclusion, zona-free buffalo oocytes can be successfully activated for parthenogenetic development using chemical or electrical stimulation. Out of different agents examined, CaI followed by 6-DMAP resulted in the highest blastocyst rate.