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This experiment was designed to evaluate the ability of three different somatic cell cultures to promote development of early cleavage stage pig embryos. A total of 245 2-cell, 4-cell, 8-cell, and 16-cell pig embryos were cocultured for 5 days with porcine oviductal epithelial cells (POEC), porcine fetal fibroblast monolayer (PEF), a combined POEC and PEF coculture system (PEF-POEC), or Dulbecco's Modified Eagle Medium alone (DMEM). Embryos were collected at slaughter from the reproductive tracts of superovulated prepubertal gilts. Embryos were recovered, evaluated, and randomly placed in one of the four treatment groups. POEC were recovered from oviductal flushes, washed, and placed in 24-well plates. PEF were obtained from 30-day to 60-day fetuses and established in culture. Finally, PEF-POEC consisted of a confluent monolayer of PEF in the bottom of 24-well plates also containing a Costar semipermeable membrane chamber with POEC in it. Embryos were evaluated every 24 h to determine stage of development. More (p < 0.05) embryos developed to blastocysts in POEC (70% and 54%, respectively) and PEF-POEC (67% and 61%, respectively), than in either DMEM (16% and 2%, respectively) or PEF (27% and 23%, respectively). However, development of embryos did not differ (p < 0.05) for POEC and PEF-POEC. These data indicate the presence of a primary culture of POEC promotes in vitro development of early cleavage stage pig embryos.

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Biology of Reproduction

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