Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) of a nonmotile cell into the ooplasm for assisted fertilization is a highly specialized procedure for producing the next generation. The production of piglets by ICSI has succeeded when in vivo-matured oocytes have been used as recipients. Our objective was to generate viable piglets by using porcine oocytes matured in vitro and fertilized by ICSI after evaluating the efficacy of using donor spermatozoa in which the acrosome had been artificially removed by treatment with calcium ionophore A23187 (Ca-I). The rate of acrosomal loss in spermatozoa was increased significantly as the duration of treatment with 10 μM Ca-I was prolonged for 30–120 min (Ca-I treated; 55.6–78.6%), whereas the rate was not different as the duration of incubation without Ca-I was prolonged for 30–120 min (control; 45.3–58.4%). On the sixth day of in vitro culture after injection of the sperm head and subsequent stimulation with an electrical pulse, the rates of blastocyst formation were not significantly different between the two groups: the rates for oocytes injected with Ca-I-treated sperm heads (incubated for 120 min) and for those injected with control sperm heads were 8.6% and 4.0%, respectively. The mean cell numbers of the blastocysts were not significantly different between the two groups (25.6 and 22.7, respectively). Within 2 h after the stimulation, the injected oocytes were transferred to estrous-synchronized recipients. The three recipients that received oocytes injected with Ca-I-treated sperm heads (77–150 oocytes per recipient) were not pregnant, whereas two of the four recipients given oocytes injected with control sperm heads (55–100 oocytes per recipient) were pregnant. One of these farrowed three (a male and two female) healthy piglets. The results demonstrate clearly that in vitro-matured oocytes injected with sperm heads are developmentally competent and can produce viable piglets. They also suggest that removal of the acrosome from the spermatozoon before injection does not affect the development of the blastocyst in vitro. This might not also improve the production of piglets in vivo.
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