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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A serum-free, cell-free culture system for development of bovine one-cell embryos up to blastocyst stage with improved viability.

With the aim of developing a serum-free, cell-free culture system for embryo development, in vitro-matured (IVM) and -fertilized (IVF) bovine oocytes were cultured in TCM 199 with the following supplements: 1) BSA alone (10 mg/ml); 2) BSA with ITS (5 mug/ml insulin, 5 mug/ml transferrin and 5 ng/ml selenium; BSAITS medium); 3) estrous cow serum alone (ECS; 10%); or 4) ECS with BOEC (bovine oviduct epithelial cells) (Experiment 1). In Experiment 2, embryos were cultured in BSAITS medium with or without feeding with fresh medium on Day 4 (day of insemination = Day 0). Embryos were evaluated on Day 2 for first cleavage, on Day 7 for morulae and blastocysts, and on Day 8 for blastocysts. Blastocysts from Experiment 1 were frozen in 10% glycerol in PBS, thawed and further cultured in ECS medium with BOEC for 48 h, and evaluated for formation of a distinct blastocoel, or expansion and hatching of blastocysts. In vivo-developed, Grade-1 and Grade-2, 7-d-old embryos served as control for the freezing, thawing and subsequent culture procedures. The percentage of first cleavage did not differ between the treatments (74 to 79% in Experiment 1 and 80 to 83% in Experiment 2). The percentage of blastocysts developed in BSAITS medium did not differ from that in ECS medium whether BOEC were present or not. However, medium with BSA alone had fewer blastocysts than any other culture system (P<0.05). Feeding embryos with fresh BSAITS medium on Day 4 did not lead to any further increase in the proportion of blastocysts. The culture systems had a significant effect on the post-thaw viability of blastocysts developed in them (P<0.001). Blastocysts developed in BSAITS medium had better (P<0.05) viability (14/38) than those from medium with ECS alone (1/27) or with ECS and BOEC (3/37). The post-thaw survival of control embryos was 80% (n=30). One of the three transfers of BSAITS-treated, frozen-thawed blastocysts resulted in a pregnancy. The results indicate that a serum-free, cell-free culture system can support the development of IVM-IVF bovine oocytes up to the blastocyst stage with better viability than a complex co-culture system.[1]


  1. A serum-free, cell-free culture system for development of bovine one-cell embryos up to blastocyst stage with improved viability. Shamsuddin, M., Larsson, B., Gustafsson, H., Rodriguez-Martinez, H. Theriogenology (1994) [Pubmed]
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