Maturation conditions and boar affect timing of cortical reaction in porcine oocytes
The cortical reaction induces changes at the egg's Zona pellucida (ZP), perivitelline space and/or oolemma level, blocking polyspermic fertilization. We studied the timing of sperm penetration and cortical reaction in pig oocytes matured under different conditions and inseminated with different boars. Immature (germinal vesicle stage) and in vitro matured (IVM) (metaphase II stage) oocytes were inseminated and results assessed at different hours post insemination. Penetrability and polyspermy rates increased with gamete coincubation time and were higher in IVM oocytes. A strong boar effect was observed in IVF results. Cortical reaction (assessed as area occupied by cortical granules) and galactose-ß(1-3)-Nacetylgalactosamine residues on ZP (area labeled by peanut agglutinin lectin, PNA) were assessed in IVM and in vivo matured (IVV) oocytes at different hours post insemination. After maturation, IVM and IVV oocytes displayed similar area occupied by cortical granules and it decreased in fertilized oocytes compared to unfertilized ones. Cortical reaction was influenced by boar and was faster in polyspermic than in monospermic oocytes, and in IVM than in IVV oocytes. The outer ZP of inseminated oocytes appeared stained by PNA and the labeled area increased along with gamete coculture time. This labeling was also observed after insemination of isolated ZP, indicating that this modification in ZP carbohydrates is not induced by cortical reaction. The steady and maintained cortical reaction observed at 4 to 5 h post insemination in IVV monospermic oocytes might reflect the physiological time course of this important event in pigs. Both maturation conditions and boar affect cortical granules release.