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Developmental Competence and Embryo Quality of Small Oocytes from Pre-pubertal Goats Cultured in IVM Medium Supplemented with Low Level of Hormones, Insulin–Transferrin–Selenium and Ascorbic Acid


Author’s address (for correspondence): Dolors Izquierdo, Departament de Ciència Animal i dels Aliments, Facultat de Veterinària, UAB 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain. E-mail:


The aim of this study was to test the effect of insulin–transferrin–selenium (ITS) and L-ascorbic acid (AA) supplementation and the hormonal level during in vitro maturation (IVM) of small oocytes from pre-pubertal goat on the blastocyst yield and quality. Concretely, we used four maturation media: conventional IVM medium (CM), growth medium (GM: CM+ITS+AA and low level of hormones), modified CM (mCM: CM with low level of hormones) and modified GM (mGM: CM+ITS+AA and normal level of hormones). Cumulus–oocyte complexes (COCs) were classified into two categories according to oocyte diameter: <125 μm and ≥125 μm. Large oocytes were matured 24 h in CM (Treatment A). Small oocytes were matured randomly in six experimental groups: Treatment B: 24 h in CM; Treatment C: 12 h in GM and 12 h in CM; Treatment D: 24 h in mGM; Treatment E: 12 h in mGM and 12 h in CM; Treatment F: 12 h in mCM and 12 h in CM; and Treatment G: 12 h in GM and 12 h in mGM. After IVM, oocytes were fertilized and cultured for 8 days. The blastocyst quality was assessed by the survival following vitrification/warming and the mean cell number. When different maturation media were combined, the blastocyst rate did not improve. The large oocytes produced the highest blastocysts yield. However, the culture of small oocytes in GM (53.3%) enhanced the post-warming survival of blastocysts compared to large oocytes matured in CM (35.7%). In conclusion, IVM of pre-pubertal goat small oocytes in GM would be useful to improve the quality of in vitro-produced blastocysts.