Mouse follicles grown in vitro from preantral to mature stages yield oocytes that can be fertilized in vitro, but embryonic development is poor. To investigate whether this poor development is due to a nuclear or a cytoplasmatic factor, we designed an experiment in which the MII chromosome spindle was exchanged between in vitro-matured oocytes and in vivo-matured oocytes by electrofusion. Subsequent embryo development was evaluated by blastocyst formation rate and blastocyst cell number after parthenogenetic activation. Electrofusion was successful in 62–78% of the oocytes. Transfer of the spindle apparatus from in vitro-matured oocytes to the in vivo MII cytoplasmic environment resulted in a high rate of blastocyst development, whereas in the reverse situation (transfer of the nucleus from in vivo-matured oocytes into in vitro-matured MII cytoplasm) poor quality embryos and a low rate of blastocyst formation was observed. These results indicate that the low developmental competence of in vitro-matured oocytes from mouse preantral follicles after activation is caused by the cytoplasmic component rather than the nuclear component.
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