Growth Retardation of Inner Cell Mass Cells in Polyspermic Porcine Embryos Produced In Vitro1

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The in vitro viability of polyspermic pig eggs was investigated. Immature oocytes were matured and fertilized in vitro. Approximately 10 h after insemination, the eggs were centrifuged at 12 000 × g for 10 min and individually classified into two (2PN)- and poly-pronuclear (PPN, 3 or 4 pronuclei) eggs. The classified eggs were cultured in vitro or in vivo. Nuclei numbers of inner cell mass (ICM) and trophectoderm (TE) were compared between 2PN- and PPN-derived blastocysts. The frequency of development in vitro of 2PN and PPN eggs to the blastocyst stage was 53.6% and 40.7%, respectively. The mean number (8.2 ± 0.7, n = 48) of ICM nuclei of 2PN-derived blastocysts was higher than that (4.2 ± 0.8, n = 37) of PPN-derived blastocysts (p < 0.001), whereas there was no difference (p > 0.05) in mean numbers of total (46.7 ± 3.4 vs. 39.9 ± 3.9) and TE nuclei (38.5 ± 2.9 vs. 35.7 ± 3.3) between the two groups. Development of 2PN and PPN eggs cultured in vivo to the blastocyst stage was 33.3% and 27.4%, respectively. The numbers of ICM and TE nuclei of these embryos cultured in vivo showed a pattern similar to that for the in vitro-produced blastocysts. Additionally, fetuses were obtained on Day 21 from both the 2PN and the PPN groups. This suggests that polyspermic pig embryos develop to the blastocyst stage and beyond, although showing a smaller ICM cell number as compared to normal embryos.

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