The present study was carried out to establish porcine defined IVP. In Experiments 1 and 2, we investigated the efficacy of additional 0.6 mM cystine and/or 100 µM cysteamine (Cys) to a defined TCM199 maturation medium with regard to the intracellular glutathione (GSH) concentration and the developmental competence of in vitro matured porcine oocytes following intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The control medium was a modified TCM199 containing 0.05% (w/v) polyvinyl alcohol (PVA). Cys and/or cystine were added to the control medium. The control group and immature oocytes (presumptive germinal vesicle oocytes; GV) were prepared for GSH assay. In Experiment 3, the efficacy of epidermal growth factor (EGF) addition to a modified porcine zygote medium (mPZM) for in vitro culture (IVC) medium was investigated on embryonic development and the mean cell number of blastocysts following ICSI. As a positive or negative control, 0.3% BSA (mPZM-3) or 0.3% PVA (mPZM-4), respectively, was added to the base medium. The defined IVC medium was supplemented with 5 or 10 ng/ml EGF. In Experiment 1, no significant difference was found in the rates of cleavage (31.4–64.3%) and blastocyst formation (6.5–22.9%) among the treatment and control groups. The mean cell numbers per blastocyst ranged from 30 to 48 among the groups without significant differences. However, in Experiment 2, the intracellular GSH concentrations in the oocytes cultured in the medium supplemented with 100 µM Cys (9.6 pmol/oocyte) or Cys + cystine (9.9 pmol/oocyte) were significantly (p < 0.05) higher than the control (2.5 pmol/oocyte) and 0.6 mM cystine (6.5 pmol/oocyte) groups, but not different from the GV group (9.0 pmol/oocyte). The GSH concentration in the cystine group was also significantly (p < 0.05) higher than that in the control group, but not different from the GV group. In Experiment 3, the rates of cleavage and blastocyst formation and the mean cell numbers of blastocysts were not significantly different among the groups. However, the addition of 5 ng/ml EGF into the mPZM-4 resulted in a significantly (p < 0.05) higher blastocyst rate per cleaved embryo than the other two defined groups (mPZM-4 + 5 ng/ml: 48.6%, mPZM-4 and mPZM-4 +10 ng/ml: 23.4% and 23.1%, respectively).
The present results indicate that the addition of Cys to a defined medium for in vitro maturation (IVM) of porcine oocytes increases intracellular GSH concentration. Further addition of cystine into the IVM medium containing 100 µM Cys is not necessary and TCM199 plus Cys (100 µM) could be used as a defined IVM medium for porcine oocytes. The addition of 5 ng/ml EGF to a defined IVC medium has enhanced subsequent development after ICSI. This study shows that porcine blastocysts can be produced by defined media throughout the steps of IVP (IVM, ICSI and IVC).