Indian journal of experimental biology

An ideal oocyte activation protocol and embryo culture conditions for somatic cell nuclear transfer using sheep oocytes.

PMID 25345241


Pluripotent stem cells are possibly the best candidates for regenerative medicine, and somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is one of the viable options to make patient-specific embryonic stem cells. Till date efficacy of SCNT embryos is very low and requires further improvement like ideal oocyte activation and in vitro culture system. The aim of the present study was to evaluate ideal oocyte activation using different stimulation protocols and to study the effect of cumulus co-culture conditions on embryo development. Results demonstrate that between electric stimulation and chemical stimulation using calcium ionomycin and ionophore, best oocyte activation was obtained using calcium ionomycin (5 microM for 5 min) which resulted in 83% cleavage followed by 7% of early blastocyst which further increased to 15% when a cumulus bed was also introduced during embryo culture. Sequential modified Charles Rosenkrans 2 (mCR2) medium was used for embryo culture in which glucose levels were increased from 1 mM to 5 mM from Day 3 onwards. SCNT using cumulus cells as donor somatic cell, calcium ionomycin to activate the reconstructed oocyte and embryo culture on a cumulus bed in sequential mCR2 medium, resulted in the development of 6% embryos to early blastocyst stage. Such technological advances will make SCNT a viable option to make patient-specific pluripotent stem cell lines in near future.