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Different in vitro culture systems affect the birth weight of lambs from vitrified ovine embryos

  • L. Mara (a1), D. Sanna (a1), M. Dattena (a1) and I.M. Mayorga Muñoz (a2)


It has been reported that different in vitro culture systems affect the birth weight of lambs. The aim of this study was to test body weight and lambing rate of lambs born from five different in vitro culture systems after vitrification. Oocytes of Sarda sheep were matured in TCM-199 plus 0.4% bovine serum albumin (BSA) using systems: (i) 4 mg/ml fatty acid-free BSA (BSA4); (ii) 8 mg/ml fatty acid-free BSA (BSA8); (iii) BSA8–hyaluronan (BSA8–HA); (iv) BSA8–charcoal-stripped FBS (BSA8–CH); or (v) with 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS; serum) and fertilized with fresh semen. The presumptive zygotes were cultured up to the blastocyst stage with BSA8, BSA8-HA, BSA8-CH or serum or BSA4. In the third and fifth days of culture 5% charcoal-stripped FBS was added into BSA8-CH and serum, while 8 mg/ml or 4 mg/ml fatty acid-free BSA was added as BSA8, BSA8-HA and BSA4 respectively; 6 mg/ml HA was added to BSA8-HA. In total, 240 vitrified blastocysts were transferred into synchronized ewes. The lambing rate was not significant different between BSA groups or between serum groups (BSA8-CH and serum), while serum groups showed significant lower values when compared with BSA groups. Only BSA8 groups produced heavy lambs (≥4.5 kg) with a significant difference between BSA4 and BSA8 groups (P < 0.05).


Corresponding author

All correspondence to: Isabel Margarita Mayorga Muñoz. AGRIS DIRPA (Agricultural Research Agency of Sardinia, Department of Animal Science) Reproduction Division, S.S. 291 Km 18.6, 07040 Olmedo (SS), Italy. Tel: +39 0792842396. Fax: +39 079389450. e-mail address:


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