Author(s): Bergfelt DR, Brogliatti GM, Adams GP
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Abstract Current in vitro culture systems may not be adequate to support maturation, fertilization and embryo development of calf oocytes. Thus, we initiated a study to investigate an alternative method of assessing oocyte competence in vivo, initially using oocytes from adults. Experiment 1 was done to determine if follicle puncture would alter subsequent follicle development, ovulation and CL formation. In control (no follicle puncture, n = 3) and treated (follicle puncture, n = 3) heifers, ultrasound-guided transvaginal follicle aspiration was used to ablate all follicles > or = 5 mm at random stages of the estrous cycle to induce synchronous follicular wave emergence among heifers; PGF2 alpha was given 4 d later. Three days after PGF2 alpha, the preovulatory follicle in treated heifers was punctured with a 25-g needle between the exposed and nonexposed portions of the follicular wall, and 200 microL of PBS were infused into the antrum. There was no significant difference between control and treated heifers for mean diameter of the dominant follicle prior to ovulation, the interval to ovulation following PGF2 alpha, or first detection and diameter of the CL. Experiment 2 was designed to assess multiple embryo production following interfollicular transfer of oocytes (i.e., transfer of multiple oocytes from donor follicles to a single recipient preovulatory follicle). Follicular wave emergence was synchronized among control (no follicle puncture, n = 5), oocyte recipient (n = 7) and oocyte donor (n = 5) heifers as in Experiment 1. In control and oocyte recipient heifers, a norgestomet ear implant was placed at the time of ablation and removed 4 d later, at the second PGF2 alpha treatment. In oocyte donor heifers, FSH was given the day after ablation, and, 4 d later, oocytes were collected by transvaginal follicle aspiration, pooled and placed in holding medium. Five or 6 oocytes were loaded into the 25-g needle of the follicle infusion apparatus with < or = 200 microL of transfer medium. Puncture of the preovulatory follicle of recipient heifers was done as in Experiment 1. Immediately thereafter, LH was given to control and oocyte recipient heifers, but only the recipients were inseminated. Ovarian function was assessed by transrectal ultrasonography and control and oocyte recipient heifers were sent to the abattoir 2 or 3 d after ovulation, where excised oviducts were flushed. The interval between LH administration and ovulation (33 to 36 h) was highly synchronous within and among control and oocyte recipient heifers. Four of 5 (80\%) ova were collected from controls and 16 of a potential 43 (37\%) ova/embryos were recovered from oocyte recipients; 8 embryos from 3 heifers. Thus, the gamete recovery and follicular transfer procedure (GRAFT) did not alter ovulation or subsequent CL formation, and resulted in the recovery of multiple ova/embryos in which a total of 19 oocytes yielded as many as 8 early embryos, a 42\% embryo production rate.
This article was published in Theriogenology
and referenced in Journal of Steroids & Hormonal Science