Calcium ionophore enhanced developmental competence and apoptotic dynamics of goat parthenogenetic embryos produced in vitro

  • Diksha Dua
  • D. Nagoorvali
  • M.S. Chauhan
  • P. Palta
  • P. Mathur
  • M. K. SinghEmail author


Parthenogenetically developed embryos are efficient sources of in vitro embryo production, having less ethical issue and being useful for investigating culture conditions/treatments, early developmental, genomic studies, and homonymous source of stem cells. Keeping its advantages in mind, we aimed to study the effects of different activating agents on embryo production and its quality and gene expression. In the present study, 1348 immature oocytes recovered were parthenogenetically developed to embryos. Usable-quality immature oocytes were collected by puncturing the surface follicles and matured in in vitro maturation (IVM) medium for 27 h in a humidified 5% CO2 incubator at 38.5°C. The matured oocytes were parthenogenetically activated by exposure to 5 μM calcium ionophore for 5 min or 7% ethanol for 7 min sequentially followed by 4 h incubation in 2 mM 6-DMAP and then in vitro cultured (IVC) in RVCL/G-2 medium for 8 days. Matured oocytes were activated by calcium ionophore, the cleavage rate observed was 76.67 ± 3.47%, and further they developed into 4-cell, 8–16-cell, morula, blastocyst, and hatched blastocyst with 85.30 ± 1.57%, 70.60 ± 2.00%, 45.05 ± 2.66%, 22.89 ± 2.40%, and 5.70 ± 1.97%, respectively. Whereas ethanol-activated oocytes showed cleavage rate of 87.60 ± 1.70% and further culture developed into 4-cell, 8–16 cell, morula, blastocyst, and hatched blastocyst with 86.14 ± 1.03%, 71.56 ± 2.21%, 40.90 ± 2.45%, 19.02 ± 1.26%, and 2.22 ± 0.38%, respectively. Blastocyst developed from calcium ionophore–activated oocytes showed significantly (P < 0.05) higher total cell number (282.25 ± 27.02 vs 206.00 ± 40.46) and a lower apoptotic index (2.42 ± 0.46 vs 4.07 ± 1.44) than blastocyst developed from ethanol-activated oocytes. The relative expression of anti-apoptotic genes (BCL2, BCL2A1, MCL) at different stages of embryos produced by either calcium ionophore or ethanol activation was found to be increased in earlier stages and decreased in later stages of embryonic development. Similarly, when these embryos were subjected to pro-apoptotic genes (BAX, BAD, BAK), expression was found to be slightly higher in blastocysts than other stages. This study shows that calcium ionophore–activated blastocysts were developmentally more competent than the ethanol-activated blastocysts.


Goat embryos Parthenogenesis Chemical activation Apoptosis 


Funding information

This work was supported by “Development of parthenogenetic goat from embryonic stem cells” (Project code CA-4002): NFBSFARA, ICAR- New Delhi.


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Copyright information

© The Society for In Vitro Biology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Animal Biotechnology CentreICAR-National Dairy Research InstituteKarnalIndia
  2. 2.ICAR-Central Institute for Research on GoatsMathuraIndia
  3. 3.Amity Institute of BiotechnologyAmity UniversityNoidaIndia

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