The effects of different concentrations of etoposide and cycloheximide (ETO-CHXM), used for chemical enucleation of mouse oocytes, on polar body extrusion and chromatin expulsion were tested. The developmental ability of blastomeres of late 2-cell stage embryos fused to chemically enucleated oocytes of different ages or cytoplasts from different sources was also examined in vitro
. Metaphase I oocytes cultured in different concentrations of ETO-CHXM (10-50 μg/ml
each) extruded polar bodies at rates similar to those cultured without ETO-CHXM (58.5-65.9% and 64.6%, respectively). However, low percent of the oocytes (1.7-6.2%) expressed signs of meiotic perturbation, which was manifested by blebbing of the cytoplasmic membrane and extrusion of two or more polar body-like fragments. Twenty-three percent of the chemically enucleated oocytes cultured in ETO-CHXM-free medium spontaneously fused to their polar bodies. The rates of total chromatin expulsion were similar when ETO-CHXM concentrations were 36 and 50 μg/ml
(93.5 and 98%, respectively). The results also showed that the cleavage rates of reconstituted embryos were significantly (P<0.001) affected by the age of the chemically enucleated oocytes. Cytoplasts of bisected oocytes that matured in vivo
supported the development of 31.7% of the reconstituted embryos to the blastocyst stage. However, both cytoplasts of chemically enucleated oocytes and in vitro
matured oocytes did not support development to the blastocyst stage. A high percentage (85.5%) of the reconstituted embryos with chemically enucleated recipients displayed abnormality of the metaphase plate. These results suggest that concentrations of etoposide between 36 and 50 μg/ml
are optimum for enucleation of mouse oocytes. Furthermore, increasing the age or reducing the cytoplasmic volume of the chemically enucleated oocytes did not improve the development of the reconstituted embryos to the blastocyst stage.