Butyrolactone I specifically inhibits M-phase promoting factor activation and prevents the resumption of meiosis. These experiments were conducted to examine effects of butyrolactone I on pig oocytes in a serum-free maturation system. The first experiment was conducted to determine the effect of butyrolactone I (0–100 μM) on nuclear maturation. At concentrations of ≥12.5 μM, germinal vesicle breakdown was prevented in >90% of the oocytes after 24 h of culture. In the second experiment, the kinetics of in vitro maturation of butyrolactone I-treated oocytes was investigated. Oocytes were treated with 0 or 12.5 μM butyrolactone I and FSH for 20 h and then cultured with LH in the absence of butyrolactone I for another 24 h. Fewer butyrolactone I-treated oocytes reached MII stage at 36 h compared with controls (5.8% vs. 62.4%, P < 0.01). However, by 44 h, 83.4% of butyrolactone I-treated oocytes reached MII compared with 88.6% of controls. In the third experiment, butyrolactone I-treated oocytes were fertilized and cultured in vitro. No differences (P > 0.05) were found between controls and treated groups in cleavage rate, blastocyst rate, or mean number of cells per blastocyst. Effects of butyrolactone I on mitogen-activated protein kinase activation and localization of microfilaments and active mitochondria were examined by Western blot analysis and laser scanning confocal microscopy, respectively. The results suggested that although butyrolactone I reversibly inhibited germinal vesicle breakdown and mitogen-activated protein kinase activation, it did not affect mitochondrial and microfilament dynamics. Butyrolactone I is a potent inhibitor of nuclear maturation of porcine oocytes, and the inhibition is fully reversible.
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