This study examined the effects of incorporating an ovine oviducal oestrus-associated glycoprotein (oEGP) and amino acids, at the concentrations present in the ovine oviduct around the time of oestrus, on in vitro production and subsequent viability of bovine embryos. The first experiment compared the influence of ovine oviducal concentrations of amino acids with MEM and BME amino acids. There was no treatment effect on cleavage rate (74.9% vs. 75.5%), but there was a higher (P < 0.05) blastocyst yield (30.4 vs. 25.2) and a shorter time (P < 0.05) to blastocyst formation (7.16 +/- 0.64 vs. 7.27 +/- 0.56 days) following use of oviducal concentrations of amino acids. Experiment 2 examined the influence of oEGP in combination with each of the amino acid treatments. oEGP had no effect on cleavage or blastocyst yield within amino acid treatments. Day of blastocyst formation significantly influenced nuclei numbers (P < 0.001) with higher numbers being obtained on day 7 than on either day 6 or day 8. There was also a significant (P < 0.01) interaction between day of blastocyst formation and amino acid treatment on blastocyst nuclei numbers. The third experiment studied the effects of the amino acid treatments on embryo viability. There was no effect of amino acid treatment of embryos on pregnancy rates (34.5 vs. 44.4%) following transfer of days 6 and 7 blastocysts to synchronized recipients. oEGP did not influence any of the parameters of bovine embryo development that were measured, suggesting that effects of this protein observed on ovine embryos are species specific. It is concluded that ovine oviducal amino acid concentrations are beneficial to blastocyst development in vitro but do not have any further beneficial effect following transfer of blastocysts to recipients.
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