Pronuclear formation, and the chromosomal constitution and developmental capacity of bovine zygotes formed by intracytoplasmic sperm injection with freeze-dried (lyophilized) spermatozoa were evaluated. Frozen-thawed spermatozoa were selected, freeze-dried, and stored at 4°C until use. After 22–24 h of in vitro maturation oocytes were denuded and injected singly with a lyophilized spermatozoon. Injected oocytes were activated by treatment with 10 μM ionomycin (5 min) alone and in combination with 1.9 mM 6-dimethylaminopurine (DMAP) for 4 h. Ionomycin plus DMAP activation treatment resulted in a significantly higher proportion of sperm-injected oocytes with two pronuclei than was found after activation with ionomycin alone (74% vs. 56%; P < 0.03). The rates of cleavage, morula, and blastocyst development of sperm-injected oocytes treated with ionomycin plus DMAP were higher than after activation with ionomycin alone (63.3%, 34.2%, and 29.6% vs. 44.7%, 18.7%, and 10.6%, respectively; P < 0.05). Seventy-three percent of blastocysts produced with lyophilized sperm were diploid. These results demonstrate that in vitro-matured bovine oocytes can be fertilized with freeze-dried sperm cells, and that resultant zygotes can develop into karyotypically normal blastocysts.
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