The developmental potential of bovine fetal fibroblasts was evaluated using nuclear transfer. Fibroblasts from a 37-day-old fetus were fused to enucleated oocytes before activation. Nuclei of starved (cultured for 8 days in medium containing 0.5% serum) fibroblasts supported the development of reconstructed embryos to the blastocyst stage significantly better than those of non-starved fibroblasts (39% versus 20%; P < 0.05). When nuclear transfer morulae derived from starved or non-starved fibroblasts were used for re-cloning, the proportion of blastocysts (52 and 55%, respectively) obtained with these embryonic nuclei was significantly higher than it was with fibroblast nuclei used in the first round of nuclear transfer (P < 0.05 and P < 0.001, respectively). After transfer of blastocysts derived from non-starved and starved fibroblasts, respectively, 33% (1/3) and 78% (7/9) of recipients were pregnant on day 30 as assessed by ultrasonography. On day 90, the corresponding pregnancy rates were 33% (1/3) and 63% (5/8). Two live male twin calves, derived from non-starved fibroblasts, were delivered by Caesarean section at day 281 of gestation. This study demonstrates a positive effect of serum starvation on the efficiency of nuclear transfer using bovine fetal fibroblasts. The efficiency of nuclear transfer could be further increased by recloning.
Animals Blastocyst/physiology* Cattle Cells, Cultured Chi-Square Distribution Clone Cells* Fetus/cytology* Fibroblasts* Male Microscopy, Fluorescence Nuclear Transfer Techniques*