Developmental competence in vivo and in vitro of in vitro-matured equine oocytes fertilized by intracytoplasmic sperm injection with fresh or frozen-thawed spermatozoa.Reproduction 2002; 123(3):455-65R
This study was undertaken to evaluate the development of equine oocytes in vitro and in vivo after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) with either fresh or frozen-thawed spermatozoa, without the use of additional activation treatments. Oocytes were collected from ovaries obtained from an abattoir and oocytes classified as having expanded cumulus cells were matured in M199 with 10% fetal bovine serum and 5 microU FSH ml(-1). After 24-26 h of in vitro maturation, oocytes with a first polar body were selected for manipulation. Fresh ejaculated stallion spermatozoa were used for the experiment after swim-up for 20 min in sperm-Tyrode's albumen lactate pyruvate. Frozen-thawed spermatozoa from the same stallion were treated in a similar way. Spermatozoa were immobilized and injected into the oocytes using a Piezo drill. Presumptive zygotes were cultured in G1.2 medium for 20 or 96 h after the injection was administered, or were transferred to the oviducts of recipient mares and recovered 96 h later. In addition, bovine oocytes with first polar bodies were injected with the two types of stallion spermatozoa and fixed 20 h after injection to examine pronuclear formation. Fertilization rate (pronucleus formation and cleavage) at 20 h after injection of spermatozoa was not significantly different between fresh and frozen-thawed sperm groups in either equine or bovine oocytes. Pronucleus formation after injection of spermatozoa into bovine oocytes was significantly higher than that for equine oocytes (P < 0.05). There were no significant differences in cleavage rate or average number of nuclei at 96 h between equine oocytes injected with fresh or frozen-thawed spermatozoa. However, embryos developed in vivo for 96 h had a significantly higher number of nuclei in both sperm treatments compared with those cultured in vitro. These results indicate that good activation rates may be obtained after injection of either fresh or frozen-thawed equine spermatozoa without additional activation treatment. Injection of frozen-thawed equine spermatozoa results in similar embryo development to that obtained with fresh equine spermatozoa. In vitro culture of equine zygotes in G1.2 medium results in a similar cleavage rate but reduced number of cells compared with in vivo culture within the oviduct. Bovine oocytes may be useful as models for assessing sperm function in horses.