The low number of embryos produced from in vitro matured, fertilized, and cultured (IVM-IVF-IVC) oocytes of prepubertal goat is mainly due to a low incidence of sperm head decondensation at fertilization (Martino et al., 1995: Theriogenology 43:473-485; Mogas et al., 1997: Theriogenology 48:815-829). Thiol compounds stimulate glutathione (GSH) synthesis and improve the rates of male pronucleus (MPN) formation and embryo development. The present study was carried out to determine whether supplementation of the IVM medium with 100 μM of cysteamine, 100 μM of β-mercaptoethanol, 0.57 mM of cysteine, and 0.57 mM cystine might improve the embryo development and intracellular GSH level of prepubertal goat oocytes. After 27 hr post IVM, a sample of oocytes was frozen and the intracytoplasmic GSH content was evaluated by spectrophotometry. IVM-oocytes were inseminated with fresh semen and cultured in SOF medium. Only the addition of cysteamine to IVM media significantly improved the percentage of the morula plus blastocyst yield compared to the control group (oocytes matured in absence of thiol compounds) (22.2 vs. 6.4%, respectively; P <.05). The percentage of expanded blastocysts in cysteamine and control groups was 13.0 and 2.6%, respectively, and the mean cell number per blastocyst was 86.8 and 60.5, respectively. None of the other thiol compounds studied significantly improved the percentage of embryos obtained. It has been demonstrated that prepubertal goat oocytes synthesize GSH during IVM and that thiol compounds increase this GSH synthesis. In conclusion, only the addition of 100 μM of cysteamine to the maturation medium improves embryo development from prepubertal goat oocytes although all the thiol compounds used in this study increased intracellular GSH content. 446-453 © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
- Thiol compounds