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Follicular system: adjusting a new protocol for in vitro oocyte maturation in cattle


In vitro production of bovine embryos (IVP) has been applied to increase fertility and enhance genetic improvement in beef and dairy cattle despite its recognized low efficiency. In vitro maturation (IVM) is considered to be the main technical bottleneck of IVP in cattle. Current IVM protocols do not reflect the physiological conditions causing a mismatch between nuclear and cytoplasmic oocyte maturation. Oocytes subjected to IVM are derived from follicles at different developmental stages and are heterogeneous with regard to chromatin configuration and transcripts accumulation. In previous studies funded by FAPESP, we developed the Follicular System, which includes a strategy to harvest a more homogeneous population of oocytes, as well as a sequential culture system adjusted to the oocyte developmental stage, mimicking the intrafollicular environment before (pre IVM/FS phase) and after ovulation (IVM/FS phase). The aim of this proposal is to improve the IVM phase of the Follicular System by testing the addition of intrafollicular peptides that regulate the ovulatory cascate to the culture medium [FLI combination (FGF2 + LIF + IGF1); neurotensin (NTS) and neuregulin 1 (NRG1), potentially benefiting oocyte developmental competence and consequently IVP. (AU)

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