2004 Volume 50 Issue 5 Pages 533-540
Blastocyst formation in a chemically defined medium (mR1ECM) of rat oocytes soon after sperm penetration is less frequent than in those undergoing male pronuclear formation. This inhibition is released by preculturing the oocytes for a few hours in modified Krebs-Ringer bicarbonate solution (mKRB). The present study examined the effects of phosphate (Pi), bovine serum albumin (BSA) and osmolarity during preculture of sperm penetrated rat oocytes on their development to blastocysts in mR1ECM in vitro. These are the major factors that differ between mR1ECM and mKRB. When oocytes collected at 0730-0800 h on the day following mating and freed from cumulus cells were precultured for 5 h in mKRB or Pi-free mKRB and then cultured for 127 h in mR1ECM, about 73-74% of oocytes developed to blastocysts. In both media, replacement of BSA with polyvinylalcohol (PVA) or osmolarity of 246 mOsM reduced blastocyst formation compared with media containing BSA or with osmolarity of 304 mOsM; blastocyst formation was greatly inhibited when oocytes were precultured in media with PVA and osmolarity of 246 mOsM. On the other hand, when precultured in mR1ECM or mR1ECM with osmolarity of 304 mOsM or BSA instead of PVA, fewer oocytes developed to blastocysts than those precultured in Pi-free mKRB and mR1ECM with osmolarity of 304 mOsM and BSA. These results indicate that both BSA and osmolarity, but not Pi, are essential factors during preculture of rat oocytes soon after sperm penetration for promoting their further development to blastocysts in a chemically defined medium.