Oocyte quality is the main factor that determines blastocyst yield; any factor that could affect it, such as apoptosis, could impair subsequent embryonic development. Our aim was to investigate the incidence of apoptosis in prepubertal goat oocytes and cumulus cells, assessed by Annexin-V staining and TUNEL assay, and their effect on embryo development. Oocyte-cumulus complexes (COCs) from slaughtered females were collected and classified depending on COC morphology as: Healthy (H) and Early Atretic (EA). Each one of these groups was classified depending on oocyte diameter: A: 110-125 μm, B: 125-135 μm and C: >135 μm. The COCs were IVM for 27 h, IVF with fresh semen and IVC for 8 days after insemination. Apoptosis analyses were performed before and after maturation. Annexin-positive oocytes decreased with diameter in the EA class (immature oocytes: A: 42.6%; B: 30.3%; C: 21%; IVM-oocytes: A: 17.5%; B: 4.8%; C: 0%), while TUNEL assay showed a decrease of apoptosis in the largest oocytes before and after IVM only in Healthy oocytes (immature oocytes: A: 51.5%; B: 43.3%; C: 12.1%; IVM-oocytes: A: 31.7%; B: 12%; C: 0%). Blastocyst rate increased with increasing oocyte diameter, and it was higher in H than in EA oocytes (Healthy; A: 0%; B: 5.3%; C: 14.4%; Early atretic: A: 0.3%; B: 4.1%; C: 5.1%). Oocyte diameter and COC morphology had no effect on the percentage of apoptosis in blastocyst cells. In conclusion, oocyte developmental competence in prepubertal goats is influenced by oocyte diameter and COC morphology. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- Cumulus cells
- Prepubertal goat