In vitro-produced equine embryos: production of foals after transfer, assessment by differential staining and effect of medium calcium concentrations during culture. Academic Article uri icon


  • Viability of equine embryos produced by oocyte maturation, intracytoplasmic sperm injection and embryo culture to the blastocyst stage in vitro was evaluated after transfer of embryos to recipient mares. No pregnancies were produced after transfer of five blastocysts that had been cultured in G media. Transfer of 10 blastocysts cultured in modified DMEM/F-12 medium produced five pregnancies and three live foals; the two lost pregnancies developed only trophoblast (based on transrectal ultrasonography). To evaluate the status of the inner cell mass, equine blastocysts produced in vivo and in vitro were assessed after differential staining. A discrete inner cell mass could not be appreciated in blastocysts of either source after staining; this was attributed to the presence of a network of cells within the trophoblastic vesicle. Because increased medium calcium concentrations have been reported to decrease the incidence of trophoblast-only pregnancy after transfer of equine nuclear transfer embryos, we investigated the effect of increased calcium concentrations during oocyte maturation or during embryo culture. Increasing calcium concentration of culture medium from 2 to 5.6mM during in vitro oocyte maturation did not affect maturation rate (75 and 68%, respectively) or blastocyst development after fertilization (23 and 27%). However, increasing calcium concentration (from 1.3 to 4.9 mM) of medium used for embryo culture significantly decreased blastocyst development (27% versus 13%, respectively) and adversely affected embryo morphology. More work is needed to optimize culture systems for in vitro production of equine embryos.

published proceedings

  • Theriogenology

author list (cited authors)

  • Hinrichs, K., Choi, Y. H., Walckenaer, B. E., Varner, D. D., & Hartman, D. L.

citation count

  • 31

complete list of authors

  • Hinrichs, K||Choi, YH||Walckenaer, BE||Varner, DD||Hartman, DL

publication date

  • January 2007