Comparison of Maturation, Fertilization, Development, and Gene Expression of Mouse Oocytes Grown In Vitro and In Vivo

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To investigate the difference of in vitro and in vivo grown oocytes, we compared maturation, fertilization, development, and maternal gene expression from both in vitro and in vivo grown mouse oocytes.


The preantral follicles isolated from 12-day-old mice were cultured on Transwell-COL membrane inserts. After culture, maturation, fertilization, and developmental rates were assessed. RT-PCR (reverse transcription—polymerase chain reaction) was performed to examine the expression of β-actin, GDF-9, and IGF-II in matured oocytes.


No difference in the nuclear maturation was detected between in vitro and in vivo grown oocytes, but the mean oocyte diameter of the in vitro group was smaller than that of the in vivo group. The fertilization rate was significantly lower in the in vitro group than in the in vivo group (p < 0.05). The capacities of in vitro grown oocyte to cleave and develop to blastocysts were significantly lower than those of the in vivo grown oocytes (p < 0.001). Moreover, blastocyst of in vitro group had fewer total cells than those of in vivo group (p < 0.05). In regards to the expression of genes in mature oocytes, growth differentiation factor-9 (GDF-9) expression was similar between the two groups, but β-actin was significantly reduced in the in vitro group compared to the in vivo group. Particularly, the expression of insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II) was not found in the in vitro grown oocytes.


These results showed that in vitro grown oocytes did not have the same developmental capacity as in vivo grown oocytes. We assume that the aberrant expression of maternal-derived genes in the in vitro grown oocytes may cause the poor embryo viability.

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