Collaborative project to improve mamalian follicular oocyte maturation and preimplantation-embryo culture.

Project Details


The aim of this 3 years project is to investigate protein synthesis during in-vitro maturation of mammalian oocytes in relation to different in-vitro maturation conditions and preimplantation embryo development from in-vitro cultured oocytes. The far aim is 1) to identify important factors related to oocyte quality, 1°) which could potentially be used as markers for maturation or 2°) which could be supplemented to culture media for gamete maturation; 2) to develop more objective criteria to classify oocyte maturation and embryo development stages and 3) to develop a system for complete in-vitro maturation of female gametes.
Oocytes will be collected from different sources following the guidelines of the ethical committees of the 3 institutions. The Brussels team will focus on collections from mouse and human, the Ghent team from bovine, and the Quebec team from bovine and human. After long or short term in-vitro culture of immature oocytes (depending on the stage of development of the follicle)
a)part of the oocytes will be labelled with 35S methionine. These labelled oocytes will be analysed by 2D-SDS-PAGE electrophoresis, autoradiography and Western blotting.
b)the oocytes from mouse and bovine will either be fertilised by standard IVF procedure or after microinjection (to circumvent eventual hardening of zona pellucida) with a single sperm (ICSI). Early preimplantation development will be registered and the blastocysts will be analysed using differential staining using fluorescent and confocal microscopy.
c)immature human oocytes will be fertilised using donor sperm by ICSI (after in-vitro maturation) and cultured in rich media which permit blastocysts formation at a high yield. At this stage the blastocysts are differentially stained for the inner-cell mass.
The progress made from the studies on oocyte and embryo culture condition during the first 3 years will be implemented in the routine activities from the 3 Centres.
Effective start/end date10/12/9710/03/01

Flemish discipline codes

  • (Bio)chemical engineering
  • Basic sciences
  • Biological sciences
  • Materials engineering


  • ovary
  • gamete
  • oocyte
  • in vitro
  • embryo
  • in vitro maturation
  • reproduction
  • blastocyst