Indexed on: 05 Nov '99Published on: 05 Nov '99Published in: Molecular Reproduction and Development
Attempts to cryopreserve bovine oocytes result in low survival because of their sensitivity to temperatures near 0 degrees C. This study evaluates the effects of chilling germinal vesicle-stage (GV) oocytes on their formation of microtubules and the meiotic spindle. In experiment 1, five groups of GV-stage oocytes, each consisting of approximately 90 oocytes, were held at 39 degrees C as controls, or at 31 degrees C, or cooled to 24, 4 or 0 degrees C for 10 min. After being treated, all oocytes were cultured at 39 degrees C for 24 hr. Compared to the controls, holding oocytes for 10 min at 31 or 24 degrees C did not significantly alter the formation of normal spindles, but chilling them to 4 or 0 degrees C did. After 24 hr of maturation, the respective percentages of oocytes containing normal meiotic spindles observed in the controls or those held at 31 or 24 degrees C were 69.8%, 71.9%, or 69.4% (P > 0.05). In contrast, the percentages of oocytes with normal spindles after they had been cooled to 4 or 0 degrees C were 44.0% or 29.1%, respectively. In experiment 2, approximately 90 oocytes/group were cooled to 4 degrees C for various times before being warmed and cultured. Regardless of the time of exposure, cooling oocytes to 4 degrees C reduced the formation of normal spindles. The percentages of oocytes cooled to 4 degrees C for 10, 20, 30, 45, or 60 min with normal spindles were 44.0%, 38.4%, 37.5%, 34.5% and 30.9%, respectively. In experiment 3, approximately 60 oocytes per group that had been held at 31 degrees C or cooled to 24, 4 or 0 degrees C for 10 min were allowed to mature for 24 hr before being subjected to in vitro fertilization. The cleavage rates of oocytes subjected to various chilling treatments exhibited the same pattern as that of oocytes with normal spindles. That is, there were no significant differences in cleavage rates among the control oocytes and those held at 31 or 24 degrees C (70.4%, 71.8%, and 72.4%; P > 0.05). However, only 37. 0% and 30.4% of oocytes chilled to 4 or 0 degrees C cleaved after fertilization. These results suggest that: (1) chilling bovine oocytes no lower than 24 degrees C does not reduce formation of normal meiotic spindles; (2) however, chilling oocytes to 4 degrees C or lower for as little as 10 min drastically reduces the formation of normal meiotic spindles and of fertilization; (3) the rates of fertilization and cleavage of resultant zygotes mimic that of formation of normal spindles.