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


I. Molina A , M. Muñoz A , C. Díez A , E. Gómez A , E. A. Martínez B , D. Martín A , B. Trigal A , S. Carrocera A , M. A. Gil B , J. Sánchez-Osorio B and J. N. Caamaño A

A Área de Genética y Reproducción - SERIDA, Gijón, Asturias, Spain;

B Departamento Medicina y Cirugía Animal, Universidad de Murcia, Murcia, Spain

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 22(1) 332-332
Published: 8 December 2009


The meiotic spindle in the oocyte is composed of microtubules and plays an important role during chromosome alignment and separation at meiosis. Polarized light microscopy (PLM) is used as a tool in human and, recently, in farm animals assisted reproductive technologies. PLM could be useful for a non-invasive evaluation of the meiotic spindle. The objectives of the present study were to assess the efficiency of PLM to detect microtubule-polymerized protein within in vitro-matured porcine oocytes and to examine the effects of PLM on the oocyte developmental competence. Cumulus-oocyte complexes from slaughterhouse ovaries were matured in vitro for 42 h as described by Gil et al. (2004 Theriogenology 62, 544-552). In the first experiment, a total of 97 oocytes from 6 replicates were placed individually in 10-μL drops of TCM-199-Hepes-FCS in a glass Petri dish. PLM was used to detect the presence of polymerized protein which could be forming a meiotic spindle. The presence of polymerized protein and a meiotic spindle was confirmed in individual oocytes by inmunostaining and chromatin detection as described by Morató et al. (2008 Mol. Reprod. Dev. 75, 191-201). In the second experiment, a total of 160 oocytes from 4 replicates were exposed or not (controls) to PLM for 10 minutes. Thereafter, the oocytes were parthenogenetically activated and cultured in vitro. Cleavage rate, total blastocyst rate, expanded blastocyst rate on Day 7 and total cell numbers in expanded blastocysts were assessed. Data were analyzed by GLM procedure of SAS. There was a positive correlation (r = 1; P < 0.0001) between the signal obtained by PLM and the presence of microtubule-polymerized protein as confirmed by inmunostaining. A positive PLM signal was detected in 98.9% of the oocytes. A barrel-shape spindle was observed in 94.8% of the individual samples by inmunostaining and all of these oocytes were positive to PLM. Moreover, oocytes exposed to PLM did not differ significantly from controls on cleavage rate (83.7 ± 1.5 v. 84.4 ± 1.5), total blastocyst rate (36.9 ± 3.6 v. 41.2 ± 3.6) and expanded blastocyst rate on Day 7 (21.9 ± 1.7 v. 26.2 ± 1.7), respectively. There were also no differences in total cell numbers counted in expanded blastocysts (32.8 ± 2.6 v. 35.6 ± 2.5). These results indicate that polarized light microscopy did not exert detrimental effects on porcine oocyte developmental competence and it seems an efficient system to detect polymerized protein in in vitro-matured porcine oocytes.

Grant support: INIA: RZ2007-00013-00-00. I. Molina, M. Muñoz, B. Trigal and D. Martín are sponsored by INIA, RYC08-03454, Cajastur and PTA2007-0268-I, respectively.

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