Oocytes enucleated at the second metaphase stage (MII) are often used as recipient cytoplasts for nuclear transfer. The oocyte's nuclear material has been traditionally removed blindly by aspirating the first polar body (Pb1) along with a portion of the cytoplasm. However, the Pb1-guided enucleation method is unreliable because the position of the Pb1 is variable. A previous study showed that pretreatment of mouse oocytes with 3% (0.09 M) sucrose allowed visualization of the metaphase spindle and chromosomes under standard light microscopy and led to a 100% enucleation rate. The same sucrose treatment, however, did not produce the same effect in bovine oocytes. In this study, we increased the concentration of sucrose to 0.3–0.9 M in PBS containing 20% fetal bovine serum (SPF) and found that the majority of the treated bovine oocytes (75%–86%) formed a small transparent bud into the perivitelline space, as compared with the 0.1 M sucrose (6%) or the no sucrose (0%) control groups. Staining of DNA with Hoechst 33342 revealed that these projections coincided with the position of the metaphase chromosomes in 100% of sucrose-treated oocytes, whereas only 31% of oocytes showed alignment of the position of Pb1 with their nuclear materials. Furthermore, 95% of oocytes treated in 0.3 M SPF were successfully enucleated by removing a small amount of cytoplasm adjacent to the projection. This is a significantly higher enucleation rate than that obtained by conventional Pb1-guided enucleation, even when a larger amount of cytoplasm was removed. For nuclear transfer, the enucleated oocytes treated with sucrose did not differ from the control oocytes in rates of fusion, cleavage, or development to blastocysts, or in the average cell numbers in blastocysts. This study demonstrated that 0.3 M sucrose treatment of bovine oocytes facilitates the localization of metaphase chromosomes under normal light microscopy and hence increases enucleation efficiency without compromising the in vitro development potential of cloned embryos by nuclear transfer.
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