Effect of beta-mercaptoethanol during in vitro fertilization procedures on sperm penetration into porcine oocytes and the early development in vitro

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Abstract

This study was carried out to determine the effects of beta-mercaptoethanol (bME) during a transient co-culture of gametes for 10 min, and/or the following culture until 6-9 h after insemination, on sperm penetration of porcine in vitro maturation (IVM) oocytes and the early development in vitro. When fresh spermatozoa were cultured in various concentrations of bME for 2 h, bME neutralized the stimulatory effect of caffeine-benzoate on sperm capacitation and the spontaneous acrosome reaction at 50-250 μmol/l. When 50 μmol/l bME were added during a transient co-culture of gametes for 10 min, the sperm penetration rate was reduced 9 h after insemination (70.5-82.0% vs 90.5-94.0% in the absence of bME), but the incidence of monospermic penetration was not affected. When 50 μmol/l bME were supplemented during culture after a transient co-culture, the sperm penetration rate was not affected, but the incidence of monospermy oocytes was increased (43.9-45.8% vs 31.7-34.3% in the absence of bME). The presence of bME following a transient co-culture minimized a decrease of oocyte glutathione content at 6 h after insemination (7.9 pmol/oocyte before in vitro fertilization (IVF), 6.7 pmol/oocyte in the presence of bME vs 5.5 pmol/oocyte in the absence of bME). When the distribution of cortical granules was evaluated 1 h after activation with calcium ionophore, mean pixel intensity of fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled peanut agglutinin (FITC-PNA) at the cortex region was lower in the oocytes activated and cultured in the presence of 50 μmol/l bME. Although the presence of 50 μmol/l bME during a transient co-culture for 10 min and the following culture did not increased blastocyst formation (29.6-37.7%), 50 μmol/l bME during the following culture significantly increased the mean cell numbers per blastocyst (73.3-76.4 vs 51.2 in the presence and absence of bME respectively). These results demonstrate that supplementation with bME during IVF procedures, except during a transient co-culture period of gametes in the presence of caffeine, has a beneficial effect in maintaining the function of gametes, the incidence of normal fertilization and, consequently, the quality of IVF embryos.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-898
Number of pages10
JournalReproduction
Volume130
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Embryology
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Cell Biology

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