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Effect of insulin–transferrin–selenium (ITS) and l-ascorbic acid (AA) during in vitro maturation on in vitro bovine embryo development

  • A.L.S. Guimarães (a1), S.A. Pereira (a2), M. N. Diógenes (a1) and M.A.N. Dode (a3) (a1) (a4)


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of adding a combination of insulin, transferrin and selenium (ITS) and l-ascorbic acid (AA) during in vitro maturation (IVM) and in vitro culture (IVC) on in vitro embryo production. To verify the effect of the supplements, cleavage and blastocyst rates, embryo size and total cell number were performed. Embryonic development data, embryo size categorization and kinetics of maturation were analyzed by chi-squared test, while the total cell number was analyzed by a Kruskal–Wallis test (P < 0.05). When ITS was present during IVM, IVC or the entire culture, all treatments had a cleavage and blastocyst rates and embryo quality, similar to those of the control group (P < 0.05). Supplementation of IVM medium with ITS and AA for 12 h or 24 h showed that the last 12 h increased embryo production (51.6%; n = 220) on D7 compared with the control (39.5%; n = 213). However, no improvement was observed in blastocyst rate when less competent oocytes, obtained from 1–3 mm follicles, were exposed to ITS + AA for the last 12 h of IVM, with a blastocyst rate of 14.9% (n = 47) compared with 61.0% (n = 141) in the control group. The results suggest that the addition of ITS alone did not affect embryo production; however, when combined with AA in the last 12 h of maturation, there was improvement in the quantity and quality of embryos produced. Furthermore, the use of ITS and AA during IVM did not improve the competence of oocytes obtained from small follicles.


Corresponding author

All correspondence to: Margot Alves Nunes Dode. Parque Estação Biológica, Final Av. W5/N, Prédio PBI, 70770–900, Brasília – DF, Brazil. Tel.: +55 61 34484659. Fax: +55 61 3340 3658. E-mail:


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