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Effects of co-incubation with conspecific ampulla oviductal epithelial cells and media composition on cryotolerance and developmental competence of in vitro matured sheep oocytes

Dadashpour Davachi, Navid, Fallahi, Roozbeh, Dirandeh, Essa, Liu, Xinyu, Bartlewski, Pawel M.
Theriogenology 2018 v.120 pp. 10-15
blastocyst, carnitine, coculture, cold tolerance, cryopreservation, cumulus oophorus, droplets, epithelial cells, hatching, in vitro fertilization, lipid content, lipids, metaphase, oocytes, sheep, slaughterhouses, viability, vitrification, zona pellucida
Developmental potential of cryopreserved in vitro matured oocytes is very low in nearly all mammalian species studied to date. Despite relatively high cleavage rates, the vitrified/warmed metaphase II oocytes have a decreased rate of blastocyst formation, which can be attributed to the elevated cytoplasmic lipid content and lipid droplet fragmentation. Secretory products of ampulla oviductal epithelial cells (AECs) at the periovulatory stage of the ovarian cycle enhance the viability of in vitro matured oocytes. The present study was undertaken to determine if co-culture of cumulus-oophorus complexes (COCs) with conspecific AECs or reducing the lipid content of in vitro matured ovine oocytes would improve their cryotolerance and ensuing developmental competence. Ovine COCs aspirated from the slaughterhouse ovaries were matured in the following media or culture conditions: TCM199 + FBS + AECs (T1); TCM199 + FBS (T2); TCM199 + BSA (T3); TCM199 + 0.6 mg/mL of l-carnitine (T4); TCM199+ l-carnitine + FBS (T5), or TCM199 only (Ctr). Subsequently, the oocytes were vitrified and used for in vitro fertilization (IVF). The lowest degree of zona pellucida (ZP) hardening following vitrification of in vitro matured sheep oocytes was observed in T1 and T5 (P < 0.05). Cleavage, blastocyst formation and ensuing development (i.e., total cell numbers) as well as blastocyst hatching rates were all greater (P < 0.05) in T1 compared with the remaining groups; in vitro matured COCs in T4 and Ctr did not develop beyond the cleavage stage. The inner cell mass: trophectoderm cell ratio in T1 (1:3.29) was significantly greater compared with T2 (1:3.39), T3 (1:3.40) and T5 (1:3.44). The present results indicate that the ovine COCs/AECs co-culture system had the most positive influence on cryotolerance, ZP hardening, and developmental competence of in vitro matured oocytes.