109 INTRAFOLLICULAR GLUCOSE CONCENTRATION HAS AN INFLUENCE ON THE SEX OF BOVINE BLASTOCYSTS PRODUCED IN VITRO
Meinecke-Tillmann B and
Wrenzycki A C
University of Veterinary Medicine, Clinic for Cattle, Hannover, Germany; B
University of Veterinary Medicine, Institute for Reproductive Biology, Hannover, Germany; C
University of Veterinary Medicine, Reproductive Medicine Unit, Hannover, Germany
Reproduction, Fertility and Development
Several factors have been shown to alter the sex ratio of bovine embryos generated in vitro, i.e. the maturity of the oocyte at the time of insemination, the duration of sperm-oocyte co-incubation and the culture conditions after in vitro fertilization. It has been shown that the presence of glucose during in vitro culture reduced the development of female embryos to the blastocyst stage compared with controls cultured in the absence of glucose. The sex ratio of bovine embryos has also been linked with changes in the composition of the follicular fluid in which the oocyte undergoes growth and maturation, i.e. the intrafollicular testosterone concentration. However, no information is available regarding the effect of intrafollicular glucose concentration on the sex ratio of embryos after in vitro production (IVP). The purpose of this study was to determine whether different glucose concentrations in the follicular fluid at the time of cumulus–oocyte complex (COC) collection have an effect on the sex ratio of the resulting blastocysts after IVP. Ovaries from a local abattoir were transported to the laboratory within 2 h of slaughter. Follicles (3–8 mm) were individually dissected and the glucose concentration of each follicle was measured using a blood glucose monitoring system (Freestyle Freedom Lite, Abbott, Germany). Based on a glucose concentration, COC [low glucose: <1.1 mM (group 1) and high glucose: >1.1 mM (group 2)] were pooled in groups and used for blastocyst production employing standard protocols for IVP. Developmental rates were recorded at Day 3 (cleavage) and Day 7/8 (blastocyst stage). Total cell number of blastocysts was determined after Hoechst staining. Sex of the embryos was analysed via PCR using bovine X- and Y-chromosome specific primers. Developmental rates for COC stemming from follicles with different glucose concentrations did not show significant differences (P > 0.05) compared to each other [Cleavage rate: group 1: 81.8 ± 4.7% (93/117); group 2: 79.3 ± 4.9% (94/123); blastocyst rate: group 1: 35.6 ± 5.2% (38/117); group 2: 31.6 ± 5.2% (38/123)]. Total cell numbers were similar in embryos of both groups [Group 1: 117.7 ± 8.1 (n = 18); group 2: 117.2 ± 6.4 (n = 18)]. The overall sex ratio significantly differed (P < 0.05) from 1:1 in favour of females in both groups [Group 1: 85 v. 15% (n = 20); group 2: 63.6 v. 36.4% (n = 22)]. No significant difference (P > 0.05) in the overall sex ratio was detected in blastocysts produced under standard IVP conditions employed in the laboratory [without measurement of follicular glucose concentration, 55.0 v. 45.0%, (n = 20)]. In conclusion, under the conditions used in the present study, the intrafollicular glucose concentration from which the immature COC was collected affects the sex of the resulting embryo after IVP, favouring females. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings in living cows using the ovum pickup technique.