Cumulus-Oocyte Complexes from Small Antral Follicles During the Early Follicular Phase of Menstrual Cycles in Rhesus Monkeys Yield Oocytes That Reinitiate Meiosis and Fertilize In vitro.
The stage at which follicle-enclosed cumulus-oocyte complexes achieve developmental competence in primates is unknown. Therefore, studies were designed to characterize the ability of oocytes in small antral follicles present during the menstrual cycle to spontaneously resume meiosis, fertilize, and support early embryo development. Ovaries were removed from adult rhesus monkeys (n = 12) during the early follicular phase (Days 3-4) of spontaneous cycles. Small antral follicles were divided into five groups according to their diameter; group I: <0.5 mm; group II: 0.5-0.99 mm; group III: 1.0-1.49 mm; group IV: 1.5-1.99 mm; and group V: 2.0-2.5 mm. The cumulus-oocyte complex from healthy small antral follicles (devoid of dark oocytes or granulosa cells) were extracted (n = 199) and cultured for 48 h under different conditions: in TALP (tyrode, albumin, lactate, pyruvate) medium alone, SAGE medium alone, or plus gonadotropins. At 48 h, oocyte meiotic status and diameter were measured after treatment of cumulus-oocyte complexes with hyaluronidase. Cumulus-oocyte complexes derived from follicles of 0.5- to 2-mm diameter contain oocytes that typically reinitiate meiosis in the absence or presence of gonadotropins and fertilize via in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Moreover, the inseminated oocytes can reach the morula stage but arrest. Thus, the ability of these oocytes to complete maturation, as monitored from subsequent embryonic development after fertilization, is suboptimal. Further studies on primate IVM of oocytes from SAFs are warranted in order for them to be considered as an additional, novel source of gametes for fertility preservation in cancer patients. Peluffo MC, Barrett SL, Stouffer RL, Hennebold JD, Zelinski MB. Biol Reprod 83:525-532, 2010. PMID 20519694.