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


R. Matsunaga A and H. Funahashi A
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Okayama University, Okayama, Japan

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 22(1) 330-330
Published: 8 December 2009


It is known that maturation rate of oocytes derived from small follicles (SF) is lower than that of oocytes from middle follicles (MF). Since it has been reported that cumulus cells have important role during oocytes maturation, the ability of SF oocytes to complete the meiotic maturation may be affected by additional cumulus-cell mass. The present study was undertaken to examine the effects of co-culture of oocyte-cumulus complexes (OCCs) derived from SF with additional cumulus-cell masses on in vitro maturation and developmental competence of the oocytes. OCCs were aspirated from small (SF; 1-2 mm in diameter) or middle follicles (MF; 3-6 mm in diameter) of prepuberal ovaries. OCCs were cultured in porcine oocyte medium (POM; Research Institute for the Functional Peptide, Yamagata, Japan) supplemented with gonadotropins and dbcAMP for a first 20-h period and then in gonadotropin-free and dbcAMP-free POM for another 24 h. Culture medium was collected after the first 20-h culture and the end of IVM, and analyzed for the protein profiles. Following IVM, some oocytes were co-incubated with spermatozoa in a drop of modified Medium199 containing 0.4% BSA and 5 mM caffeine for 8 h and then incubated in PZM5 (Research Institute for the Functional Peptide, Yamagata, Japan) for 6 days. Sperm penetration, cleavage, and the early development of the oocytes were examined before culture in PZM5 or Day 2 and Day 6 of culture, respectively. OCCs derived from SF were co-cultured with cumulus-cell masses derived from SF or MF during IVM (SFO-SFC and SFO-MFC groups, respectively). Some OCCs derived from SF or MF were cultured for IVM without additional cumulus-cell masses (SFO and MFO, respectively). After culture, meiotic maturation of the oocytes was examined. To analyze the developmental competence of oocytes of SF, MF, and SFO-MFC groups, sperm penetration, pronuclear formation, cleavage, and blastocyst formation were examined. Protein profiles in the IVM media were examined by 10% SDS-PAGE. Statistical analysis was performed by ANOVA with a Bonferroni-Dunn post hoc test (significance, P ≤ 0.05). After culture for IVM, the diameters of SFO and SFO-MFC were not different from that of MFO (113.3-114.5 μm). The maturation rate of SFO-MFC oocytes (75.5 ± 6.2%) was higher than SFO (52.2 ± 2.8%) and comparable with the rate of MFO oocytes (83.2 ± 6.3%), while there was not significant difference between the mature rate of SFO+SFC oocytes (63.6 ± 4.0%) and SFO oocytes. There were no significant differences between groups in sperm penetration, pronuclear formation, and cleavage. Blastocyst formation of SF oocytes was not improved by co-culture with MF cumulus-cell masses. Certain band was detected only in MF medium of collected at 20 h (24.5 kD). From these results, we conclude that secretions from cumulus-cell masses derived from MF well improve the meiotic progress of oocytes derived from SF, but not the early development following IVF.

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