Author(s): Abeydeera LR, Wang WH, Cantley TC, Rieke A, Murphy CN,
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Abstract This study examined the ability of epidermal growth factor (EGF) to improve the developmental competence of pig oocytes matured in a protein-free (PF) in vitro maturation (IVM) system. Oocyte maturation was done in one of three media: 1. PF-TCM: tissue culture medium (TCM) 199 + 0.1\% polyvinylalcohol (PVA); 2. PF-TCM+EGF: PF-TCM + 10 ng/ml EGF; and 3. +ve CONT: North Carolina State University (NCSU) 23 medium + 10\% porcine follicular fluid. All media contained 0.57 mM cysteine. Hormonal supplements, 0.5 microg/mL LH and 0.5 microg/mL FSH, were present only for the first half (20 to 22 h) of the culture period. After maturation, oocytes were co-incubated with frozen-thawed spermatozoa for 5 to 6 h and transferred to embryo culture medium, NCSU 23 containing 0.4\% BSA, for 144 h. In Experiment 1, differences in cumulus expansion were observed for oocytes matured in +ve CONT (Category 4), PF-TCM (Category 2) and PF-TCM+EGF (Category 3). However, no significant differences in nuclear maturation to metaphase II stage were observed. In Experiment 2, no differences in fertilization parameters were observed. Significant (P < 0.01) differences in cleavage rates were observed among the three media for a proportion of the oocytes matured (52, 60 and 69\% in PF-TCM, PF-TCM+EGF, and +ve CONT, respectively). Oocytes matured in PF-TCM showed the lowest (P < 0.01) blastocyst development (22\%). However, the same rate of blastocyst development was obtained for +ve CONT (37\%) and PF-TCM+EGF (37\%). Blastocyst cell numbers were significantly higher when oocytes were matured in the presence of EGF (26 vs. 37 to 41). In Experiment 3, oocytes matured in PF-TCM+EGF had a significantly (P < 0.05) higher intracellular glutathione (GSH) concentration (5.9 vs. 11.4 pmol/oocyte) compared with PF-TCM. Twenty-two of 25 embryo transfer recipients became pregnant (Experiment 4). Four animals returned to estrus in within 60 days. Six pregnant animals slaughtered at 26 to 45 days had 43 fetuses (range: 4 to 12) and the remaining 12 animals farrowed 82 piglets (range: 3 to 12). These results indicate that EGF enhances the developmental competence of pig oocytes matured in a protein-free culture medium which is correlated with higher GSH level in oocytes. Birth of piglets indicate that embryos derived from oocytes matured in the presence of EGF are viable.
This article was published in Theriogenology
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research