2003 Volume 49 Issue 2 Pages 167-174
The objective of the present study was to investigate the correlation between the degree of cumulus expansion and in vitro development of porcine cumulus-oocytes complexes (COCs) matured and fertilized in vitro. The COCs were matured in the maturation medium (IVMM) supplemented with 15% or 5% of porcine follicular fluid (PFF) from small, medium and large follicles (<2 mm, 2-5 mm and >5 mm, respectively). COCs cultured in IVMM with PFF for 48 h displayed less expansion than those cultured in IVMM alone (P<0.05), irrespective of follicle size. After culture for 24 h in IVMM with PFF and for another 24 h in IVMM alone, the degree of cumulus expansion was more prominent than culture in the presence of PFF for the entire 48 h period (P<0.05), but the percentages of oocytes with PB I showed no significant difference between the control and experimental groups (P>0.05). After in vitro fertilization, the oocytes failed to develop to the morula/blastocyst stages except for those matured in IVMM supplemented with 15% or 5% PFF obtained from >5 mm follicles for the first 24 h and followed by in IVMM alone for the second 24 h (12.5% and 11.1% of the embryos developed to morulae and blastocysts, respectively). The expanded cumulus areas of COCs were significantly positively correlated with their in vitro development (p=0.0058, 0.0001 and 0.0348 for the percentages of embryos developed to 2-4 cell, beyond 4 cell and morula and blastocyst stages, respectively). In conclusion, PFF had an inhibiting effect on cumulus expansion, and the inhibitory effect decreased progressively with the increase in size of follicles from which PFF was obtained, and the action of PFF on cumulus expansion was affected by the PFF culture time. The areas of the expanded cumulus mass may be used as a parameter to predict development of porcine oocytes matured and fertilized in vitro.