Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 October 2010
The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of the number of follicles per drop (one or three) and antral follicles on in vitro development of isolated goat preantral follicles. Preantral follicles were isolated through microdissection and distributed individually (control) or in groups of three follicles (treatment) in microdroplets of α-MEM with or without 1000 ng/ml follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) for Experiments 1 and 2, respectively. Experiment 3 was divided into four treatments according to the presence of one or three preantral follicles, associated or not with antral follicles. After culture, oocytes were retrieved from morphologically normal follicles and submitted to in vitro maturation (IVM) and live/dead fluorescent labelling. Results of Experiment 1 (basic medium without FSH) showed that culture of preantral follicles in groups enhances viability, growth and antrum formation after 12 days. However, in the presence of FSH (Experiment 2), only the recovery rate of fully grown oocytes for IVM was significantly affected by grouping of follicles. In Experiment 3, in general, co-culture of preantral follicles with an early antral follicle had a detrimental effect on viability, antrum formation and production of oocytes for IVM. In conclusion, the performance of in vitro culture of goat preantral follicles is affected by the number of follicles per drop, the presence of an antral follicle and FSH.