Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 June 2017
The exposure of oocytes to heat stress during the maturation process results in harmful effects to their internal organelles, low fertilization capability and higher embryonic losses. In the present experiment the effect of heat shock (HS) during the maturation process was assessed. In Assay 1, oocytes from winter (December–March; n = 100) and summer (June–September; n = 100) months were collected and matured to analyse their HS tolerance. Total RNA was extracted from matured oocytes and cDNA synthesis was performed, followed by qPCR for selected genes (Cx43, CDH1, DNMT1, HSPA14), compared with two reference genes (GAPDH and SDHA). In Assay 2, oocytes collected during the winter were subjected to kinetic HS by stressing them at 39.5°C for 6, 12, 18 or 24 h and were afterwards matured at control temperature (38.5°C), and subsequently subjected to the previously described gene analysis procedure. Results of Assay 1 show that summer-collected oocytes exhibited lower maturation rate than winter-collected oocytes, which may be due to the down-regulation of the HSPA 14 gene. Assay 2 showed that 6 h of HS had no effect on gene regulation. CDH1 and DNMT1 up-regulation was observed starting at 12 h, which may represent the effect of heat shock on oocyte development.