Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology


E. Mariotti A , S. Di Francesco A , M. De Blasi A , C. Siniscalchi A , M. V. Suárez A , G. Campanile A and B. Gasparrini A

A Federico II University, Naples, Italy;

B Lisandro Alvarado University, Barquisimeto, Venezuel

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 22(1) 299-299
Published: 8 December 2009


The overall in vitro embryo production efficiency in buffalo is hampered by the poor IVF efficiency. The aim of this work was to evaluate whether the fertilizing ability of buffalo sperm is improved by the presence of bovine oviductal cells (BOEC) during IVF. Because of limited availability of buffalo oocytes, this was assessed by heterologous IVF. Bovine oviducts were obtained at a local abattoir from cows that were in the preovulatory phase of a normal estrous cycle. BOEC recovered from 5 oviducts as previously described (Gualtieri and Talevi 2000 Biol. Reprod. 62, 1754-1762) were pooled and plated in 100 μL drops of TCM-199 + 10% FCS, 100 U mL-1 penicillin, 100 μg mL-1 streptomycin and 0.25 μg mL-1 amphotericin B under mineral oil. Medium was changed every 48 h up to Day 6, when cell confluence and cilia activity were optimal. On day of IVF the medium was removed from the drops and replaced with TALP supplemented with 0.2 mM penicillamine, 0.1 mM hypotaurine, and 0.01 mM heparin (IVF medium). Frozen-thawed sperm from an IVF-tested buffalo bull, treated by Percoll gradients, were used for all IVF groups (2 × 106 sperm mL-1). In vitro-matured bovine oocytes (n = 409), over 3 replicates, were distributed in 4 fertilization groups: (A) IVF medium alone (control); (B) BOEC monolayer + IVF medium; (C) sperm preincubated for 6 h in IVF medium; and (D) sperm preincubated for 6 h with BOEC + IVF medium. After 20 h of coincubation at 38.5°C and 5% CO2 in air, putative zygotes were denuded, washed, and cultured in SOF medium. Forty-eight hours after IVF, cleavage rate was evaluated, and cleaved and uncleaved oocytes were fixed in 60% methanol and stained with DAPI for nuclei examination under fluorescence microscope. Data were analyzed by chi-square test. Although cleavage rate was not different among groups (46.2, 55.8, 50.0, and 50.0% for A, B, C, and D, respectively), the monospermic penetration rate increased (P < 0.01) in group B (79.3%) compared with group A (69.6%), with intermediate values in groups C (75.2%) and D (76.0%). Interestingly, the percentage of advanced embryos (>4 cells) was higher (P < 0.01) in groups C and D (47.9 and 37.1%, respectively) than in group A (12.1%), whereas group B (21.0%) was only different from group C. We demonstrated that the fertilizing capacity of buffalo sperm, evaluated as oocyte penetration rate after heterologous IVF, is enhanced by the presence of BOEC. This suggests that IVF of buffalo oocytes on BOEC monolayer may improve the IVF efficiency in buffalo. The higher incidence of advanced embryos in both groups with preincubated sperm may be accounted for by an earlier accomplishment of capacitation, leading to anticipated oocyte penetration. However, because the penetration rate in these groups was not improved compared with the control, we hypothesize that sperm viability may have decreased and hence that shorter incubation times should be tested in further studies.

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