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


M. E. Dell’Aquila A , B. Ambruosi A , R. Guastamacchia A , F. Binetti A , E. Ciani B , D. Cianci B and G. M. Lacalandra A

A Department of Animal Production - University of Bari, Bari, Italy;

B Department of General and Environmental Physiology - University of Bari, Bari, Italy

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 22(1) 325-325
Published: 8 December 2009


Juvenile in vitro embryo transfer (JIVET) reduces the generation interval and increases the rate of genetic gain. The developmental competence of in vitro-produced embryos is strictly related to oocyte quality. Oxidative stress in the oocyte is an emerging problem in reproductive in vitro technologies, due to the gas atmosphere used to incubate oocytes and the lack of physiological defense mechanisms available in the female reproductive tract. The major source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is represented by mitochondria where ROS are produced during oxidative phosphorylation. The aim of the present study was to analyze mitochondria and ROS in ovine prepubertal oocytes before and after IVM in order to clarify their suitability in JIVET programs. Cumulus-oocyte complexes from the ovaries of 38 slaughtered prepubertal (less than 8 months of age) lambs of the Comisana breed were analyzed at retrieval (group A) or after IVM (group B; Ambruosi et al. 2009 Theriogenology 71, 1093-1104). After cumulus cell removal, all oocytes underwent nuclear chromatin, mitochondria and ROS evaluation by confocal analysis of fluorescence distribution and intensity. Hoechst 33258 and Mitotracker Orange CMTM Ros (Molecular Probes Inc., Eugene, OR) were used to label nuclear chromatin and mitochondria (Ambruosi et al. 2009) and 2′,7′-dichloro-dihydro-fluorescein diacetate was used for ROS labelling (Hashimoto et al. 2000 Mol. Reprod. Dev. 57, 353-360). Out of 65 oocytes from group A, 38 oocytes with regular size (>130 μm in diameter), morphology and nuclear chromatin at the GV stage were selected for analysis. One-hundred-thirty-eight oocytes underwent IVM (group B). Nuclear maturation rate (metaphase II with 1st polar body extruded) was 54%, 75/138. All MII oocytes were used for analysis. Significantly higher rate of oocytes from group B showed heterogeneous (large aggregates, clusters, pericortical, perinuclear) mitochondrial (mt) distribution pattern than oocytes from group A (55%, 41/75 v. 29%, 11/38, respectively; P < 0.05) which showed uniform distribution of small mt aggregates. Fluorescent intensity of mt labeling did not differ between groups (43.05 ± 16.15 v. 45.89 ± 10.36, for group A and B respectively; NS). In most of the oocytes from both groups, intracellular ROS were distributed in small or large aggregates (35/38, 92% and 62/75, 83%). No statistical difference was observed for intracellular ROS levels between oocytes from group A (66.36 ± 13.2) and group B (72.84 ± 20.63; NS). The culture conditions used in this study provided normal mt distribution and intracellular ROS levels. Qualitative and quantitative evaluation of mitochondria and intracellular ROS could be useful to improve in vitro culture methods in ovine prepubertal oocytes.

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