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


R. P. C. Gerger A , E. S. Ribeiro A , J. C. Mezzalira A , L. U. Olwheiler A , F. Forell A , F. K. Vieira A , S. Gaudencio Neto A , L. R. Bertolini A , J. L. Rodrigues B , C. E. Ambrósio C , M. A. Miglino D , A. Mezzalira A and M. Bertolini A

A CAV/UDESC, Lages, SC, Brazil;

B FAVET/UFRGS, PortoAlegre, RS, Brazil;

C FZEA/USP, Pirassununga, SP, Brazil;

D FMVZ/USP, São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 22(1) 185-185
Published: 8 December 2009


The coordination of the cell cycle of the donor nucleus and the recipient cytoplasm is thought to be one of the major essential factors needed for successful development of cloned embryos and offspring from somatic cell populations. Cell cycle synchronization protocols used for somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) vary in preference among groups, with the confluence inhibition by contact appearing to be one of the most widely used methods today. However, the relationship between the level of cell confluence in a culture dish at or near the plateau phase of growth and blastocyst yield following cloning by SCNT still needs to be better characterized. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of 3 distinct cell culture confluences before nuclear transfer and embryo aggregation on in vitro development of clone bovine embryos. In vitro-matured bovine COC were used for the production of clone embryos by handmade cloning, according to our established procedures (Ribeiro et al. 2009 Cloning Stem Cells 11). Oocytes were manually bisected following cumulus and zona removal. After selection of hemi-cytoplasts by DNA staining, 1 (50%) or 2 (100%) enucleated hemi-cytoplasts were paired with an adult Nelore skin somatic cell and then electrofused (15 V AC pre-pulse for 5 s, followed by a double 1.2 kV cm-1 DC pulse for 20 μs). Cells were selected from 1 out of 3 distinct culture confluences: (1) 70 to 80%; (2) 80 to 90%; and (3) >90%; assessed by morphological evaluation before the SCNT procedure. Reconstructed clone embryos and groups of zona-intact oocytes (parthenote controls) were activated in ionomycin and 6-DMAP. Clone embryos (100%) and hemi-embryos (50%) reconstructed from the 3 groups underwent IVC in the well of the well (WOW) system for 7 days, allocating 1 embryo (1 × 100%) or aggregating two hemi-embryos (2 × 50%) per WOW. After 11 replications, cleavage (Day 2) and blastocyst (Day 7) rates, on a per WOW basis, were compared using the chi-square test. Results are summarized in Table 1. Cleavage rates were similar for all groups. The aggregation scheme did not appear to have influenced, either positively or negatively, the developmental outcome to the blastocyst stage. However, blastocyst rates increased nonlinearly (7.0, 17.5, and 29.4%) with the increase in cell confluence. A highly confluent cell culture has already been shown to have a greater proportion of cells in G0/G1 than cycling cells at the log phase (>91% v. 59%; Sun et al. 2008 Zygote 16, 111-116). However, blastocyst development in this study was lower than anticipated for cells in the early plateau phase (70 to 80%), when predicting such development based on the expected G0/G1 proportion in that cell population.

This study was supported by FAPESP and CAPES/Brazil.

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