In vitro embryo production success in juvenile animals is compromised due to their intrinsic lower oocyte quality. Conventional in vitro maturation (IVM) impairs oocyte competence by inducing spontaneous meiotic resumption. A series of experiments were performed to determine if maintaining meiotic arrest during a pre-maturation culture phase (pre-IVM) prior to conventional IVM improves oocyte competence of juvenile-goat (2 months old) cumulusoocyte complexes (COCs). In experiment 1, COCs were cultured with C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP; 0, 50, 100, 200 nM) for 6 and 8 h. Nuclear stage was assessed, revealing no differences in the incidence of germinal vesicle (GV) breakdown. In experiment 2, the same CNP concentrations were assessed plus 10 nM estradiol, the known upstream agonist activating expression of NPR2, the exclusive receptor of CNP. CNP (200 nM) plus estradiol increased the rate of oocytes at GV stage at 6 h compared to control group (74.7% vs 28.3%; P<0.05) with predominantly condensed chromatin configuration. In experiment 3, relative mRNA quantification revealed NPR2 expression was down-regulated after pre-IVM (6 h). In experiment 4, analysis of transzonal projections indicated that pre-IVM maintained cumulus-oocyte communication after oocyte recovery. For experiments 5 and 6, biphasic IVM (6 h pre-IVM with CNP and estradiol, plus 24 h IVM) and control IVM (24 h) were compared. Biphasic IVM increased intra-oocyte glutathione and decreased ROS, up-regulated DNA-methyltransferase 1 and pentraxin 3 expression and led to an increase in rate of blastocyst development compared to control group (30.2% vs 17.2%; P<0.05). In conclusion, a biphasic IVM, including a pre-IVM with CNP, maintains oocyte meiotic arrest for 6 h and enhances the embryo developmental competence of oocytes from juvenile goats.
Soto-Heras, S., Menéndez-Blanco, I., Catalá, M. G., Izquierdo, D., Thompson, J. G., & Paramio, M. T. (2019). Biphasic in vitro maturation with C-type natriuretic peptide enhances the developmental competence of juvenile-goat oocytes. PLoS ONE, 14(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0221663