2019 Volume 81 Issue 1 Pages 84-90
Reduction in oocyte quality is a major factor responsible for declining fertility associated with maternal aging in cows. The objective of the present study was to determine whether intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) could increase the efficiency of embryo production in older cows. We used cows aged 30 to 50 months or >120 months, which were defined as young or aged, respectively. The distribution of cortical granules in oocytes was affected by age as older cows had lower proportion of oocytes with mature cytoplasm containing evenly dispersed cortical granules compared to young cows. Although fertilization rates did not differ significantly between the two groups after in vitro fertilization (IVF), the rate of abnormal fertilization was higher, and the numbers of total and diploid blastocysts were lower for aged cows compared to young cows. However, in the embryos produced by ICSI, there was no significant difference in these parameters between young and aged cows. Although ICSI did not improve the blastocyst development rate, ICSI increased the proportion of diploid blastocysts in aged cows compared to IVF. In conclusion, maternal aging may negatively affect cytoplasmic maturation of bovine oocytes, which could be associated with abnormal fertilization or low developmental competence of oocytes. Our data also suggests beneficial effects of ICSI on the production of chromosomally normal embryos in aged cows.