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


M. Kafi A , M. R. Divar A and S. Gharib-Zadeh A
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Dept. of Animal Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 27(1) 236-236
Published: 4 December 2014


The cause of repeat breeding syndrome is often difficult to explain in dairy heifers with no clinical abnormalities. The aim of the present experiment was to determine the effect of follicular fluid obtained from the preovulatory follicle of repeat breeder heifers on maturation of bovine oocytes in vitro. Holstein virgin heifers either with normal fertility (VH, n = 5) or repeat breeder syndrome (RB, n = 5) were used in the present experiment. The RB heifers had a history of at least 5 unsuccessful consequent artificial breeding. The reason for using such RB heifers was to exclude the possibility of the presence of usual causes of infertility in heifers. Oestrus cycles of all heifers were synchronized using 2 injections of PGF2a 11 days apart. Six to 12 h after oestrus detection, clear follicular fluid samples from the ovulatory follicles were collected transrectally using a long fine-needle covered by a hard plastic tube. Follicular fluid samples were pooled, centrifuged, and frozen until used in the maturation medium. A total of 483 good or excellent quality bovine cumulus-oocytes complexes (COC) were obtained from 2 to 6 mm follicles in diameter from slaughterhouse ovaries and randomly allocated in 3 groups; in group 1 (control, n = 180), oocytes were cultured in TCM-199 supplemented with 10% heat-treated fetal calf serum and hormones (5 IU mL–1 of hCG plus 0.1 IU mL–1 of rFSH); in group 2 (n = 126), oocytes were cultured in TCM-199 supplemented with 10% filtered follicular fluid of VH without hormones; in group 3 (n = 177), oocytes were cultured in TCM-199 supplemented with 10% filtered follicular fluid of RB heifers without hormones. All oocytes were cultured for 24 h at 39°C in an atmosphere of 5% CO2 under 90% humidity. At the end of maturation, the degree of cumulus expansion was evaluated and scored under a stereomicroscope. Then, oocytes were mechanically denuded using 3% sodium citrate and repeated pipetting and were fixed in ethanol/acetic acid (3 : 1) for 24 h. The oocytes were subsequently stained with 1% aceto-orcein and evaluated for meiotic resumption. Proportions were statistically analysed using a Chi-squared test (significant at P < 0.05; SPSS program, 11.5). The percentages of fully expanded COC differed among groups (P < 0.001). The maturation rate (MII stage) was 83% (150/180) in oocytes that were cultured in the presence of FCS as the control group. However, a reduction in the maturation rate was observed when oocytes were cultured either in VH follicular fluid (71.4%, 90/126; P < 0.01) or RB follicular fluid (59.3%, 105/177; P < 0.001) compared to the control group. The percentages of matured oocytes were also different between VH and RB follicular fluid (71.4 v. 59.3%; P < 0.01, respectively). In conclusion, the quality of follicular fluid of the preovulatory follicles of repeat breeder heifers is lower than that of the virgin heifers with normal fertility. This may explain the cause of the low fertility in some repeat breeder Holstein heifers.

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