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


J. Liu, M. E. Westhusin and D. C. Kraemer

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 20(1) 102 - 102
Published: 12 December 2007


Somatic cells in semen could be a valuable source of nuclei for cloning animals by somatic cell nuclear transfer, especially when other ways of obtaining somatic cells are not available. The usefulness of the cells cultured from bovine semen for nuclear transfer was evaluated in the present study. Twelve ejaculates were collected from nine bulls representing three breeds: Charolais, Brahman, and a crossbreed rodeo bull. All of the samples were processed immediately, and somatic cells were isolated by centrifuging through 20%, 50%, and 90% percoll columns (Nel-Themaat et al. 2005 Reprod. Fertil. Dev. 17, 314–315). Somatic cell lines were obtained from 7 of the 12 ejaculates. These cell lines have classic epithelial morphology, express cytokeratin and vimentin, and proliferate well in the medium we previously designed for the epithelial cells in ovine semen (Jie Liu et al. 2007 Biol. Reprod. special issue, 177–178). Cell lines from three bulls that had been cultured in vitro for 1–2 months were used in the cloning experiments. Bovine ovaries were collected from a local slaughterhouse and transported to the laboratory in warm saline solution within 2–4 h. Compact cumulus–oocyte complexes with evenly distributed cytoplasm were selected and matured for 18 h at 38.5°C with 5% CO2 in humidified air. Cumulus cells were removed by pipetting in 0.3% hyaluronidase solution (Sigma Chemical Co., St. Louis, MO, USA) for 5 min. Oocytes were selected for the presence of a first polar body and stained in 5 µg mL–1 Hoechst 33342 (Sigma) and 5 µg mL–1 cytochalasin B (Sigma) for 10–15 min before enucleation. Successful enucleation was confirmed by brief exposure of the oocytes to ultraviolet light. Epithelial cell lines cultured to 90–100% confluence were trypsinized, and a single cell was inserted into the perivitelline space of an oocyte. Fusion was induced by applying two 1.8–1.9 kV cm–1, 20 µs direct-current pulses delivered by an Eppendorf Multiporator (Eppendorf, North America) in fusion medium comprising 0.28 m Mannitol (Sigma), 0.1 mm CaCl2 (Sigma), and 0.1 mm MgSO4 (Sigma). One and half to 2 h post fusion, activation was induced by applying two 0.3 kV cm–1, 55 µs direct-current pulses in the fusion medium, followed by incubation in 10 µg mL–1 cycloheximide (Sigma) and 5 µg mL–1 cytochalasin B for 5 h in a humidified 5% CO2, 5% O2, and 90% N2 gas mixture at 38.5°C. The embryos were washed three times and cultured in commercially available G1/G2 medium (Vitrolife, Inc., Englewood, CO, USA) for up to 10 days. Blastocyst development rates using somatic cells from three of the bulls, 1-year-old Charolais, 6-year-old Brahman, and 8-year-old Brahman, were 15.9% (18/113), 34.5% (29/84), and 14.4% (13/90) of the fused one-cell embryos, respectively. Of these blastocyst stage embryos, 38.9% (7/18), 72.4% (21/29), and 61.5% (8/13) hatched, respectively. The present study shows that epithelial cells cultured from bovine semen can be used to produce blastocyst-stage embryos by somatic cell nuclear transfer.

© CSIRO 2007

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