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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 19(7)

Relationship between follicle size and oocyte developmental competence in prepubertal and adult pigs

Melanie A. Bagg A C, Mark B. Nottle A, David T. Armstrong A, Christopher G. Grupen B

A Research Centre for Reproductive Health, Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.
B Centre for Advanced Technologies in Animal Genetics and Reproduction, Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, Camden, NSW 2570, Australia.
C Corresponding author. Email: melanie.bagg@adelaide.edu.au
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The present study compared the distribution and steroid composition of 3-, 4- and 5–8-mm follicles on the surface of prepubertal and adult ovaries, and determined the relationship between follicle size and developmental competence of oocytes following parthenogenetic activation. The effect of 1 mm dibutyryl cAMP (dbcAMP) for the first 22 h of in vitro maturation (IVM) on the embryo development of prepubertal oocytes from the three follicle size cohorts was also determined. Compared with adult, prepubertal ovaries contained a higher proportion of 3-mm follicles (46 v. 72%, respectively), but a lower proportion of 4-mm (33 v. 22%, respectively) and 5–8-mm follicles (21 v. 6%, respectively). Adult follicular fluid (FF) contained 11-fold higher levels of progesterone (P4) than prepubertal FF, with similar levels observed between all adult follicle sizes. In prepubertal FF, the P4 concentration increased with follicle size from 3 to 4 to 5–8 mm. Rates of blastocyst development following parthenogenetic activation of adult oocytes from all three follicles sizes were similar (approximately 55%), whereas rates from prepubertal oocytes increased with increasing follicle size from 3 (17%) to 4 (36%) to 5–8 mm (55%). Treatment with dbcAMP for the first 22 h of IVM led to a 1.5-fold increase in the rate of blastocyst development for prepubertal oocytes from 3-mm follicles, but had no effect on prepubertal oocytes from the 4 and 5–8 mm classes. Mean blastocyst cell number increased with follicle size in prepubertal ovaries and was similar for all follicle sizes in adult ovaries. The present study demonstrates that the low efficiency of in vitro embryo production observed using prepubertal compared with adult pig oocytes is due to a greater proportion of 3-mm follicles on prepubertal ovaries, which contain oocytes of inferior developmental competence.

Keywords: blastocyst development, cAMP, donor age, embryo quality, steroid content.

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