Because of recent advancements in reproductive technology, oocytes have attained an increasingly enriched value as a unique cell population in the production of offspring. The growing oocytes in the ovary are an immediate potential source that serve this need; however, complete oocyte growth before use is crucial. Our research objective was to create in vitro-grown (IVG) oocytes that would have the ability to perform specialized activities, including nuclear reprogramming, as an alternative to in vivo-grown oocytes. Bovine oocyte–granulosa cell complexes with a mean oocyte diameter of approximately 100 μm were cultured on Millicell membrane inserts, with culture medium supplemented with 4% polyvinylpyrrolidone (molecular weight, 360 000), 20 ng/ml androstenedione, 2 mM hypoxanthine, and 5 ng/ml bone morphogenetic protein 7. Oocyte viability after the 14-day culture period was 95%, and there was a 71% increase in oocyte volume. Upon induction of oocyte maturation, 61% of the IVG oocytes extruded a polar body. Eighty-four percent of the reconstructed IVG oocytes that used cumulus cells as donor cells underwent cleavage, and half of them became blastocysts. DNA methylation analyses of the satellite I and II regions of the blastocysts revealed a similar highly methylated status in the cloned embryos derived from in vivo-grown and IVG oocytes. Finally, one of the nine embryos reconstructed from the IVG oocytes developed into a living calf following embryo transfer. Fertility of the offspring was confirmed. In conclusion, the potential of a proportion of the IVG oocytes was comparable to that of in vivo-grown oocytes.
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Vol. 89 • No. 3