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In mammals, preparation of donor cells for somatic nuclear transfer is very important because the character of the donor cell directly affects the efficiency and outcome of transfer. The protocols used most commonly for donor preparation are (i) disaggregating cells from fresh tissue 1-2 h before micromanipulation or (ii) trypsinizing cultured cells temporarily, after special treatments for 3-8 days (for example, serum starvation). In this study, a new simple protocol was designed, whereby the donor cells (cumulus cells) used in bovine somatic nuclear transfer were refrigerated. In brief, cultured cells at 80-100% confluency were detached using trypsin, washed by centrifugation, aliquoted into different vials and refrigerated at 4 degrees C. The density of viable cells was decreased after day 1 of refrigeration; however, the rate of decrease tended to slow down with increasing duration of refrigeration. Cells refrigerated for 15 days were seeded at a density of 5 x 10(4) ml(-1) and reached 70% confluency after day 2 of culture. Most cells had the normal number of chromosomes (2n = 60). Cells chilled at 4 degrees C for different durations were removed from refrigeration and immediately subjected to micromanipulation. The in vitro development of reconstructed embryos (fusion rates, cleavage rates, morula and blastocyst rates) indicated that there were no significant differences among treatment groups regardless of the duration of refrigeration (0-2 weeks) of the donor cells. Reconstructed embryos were transferred into the uteri of recipient cows. No significant differences were observed in established early pregnancies between embryos derived from the non-refrigerated donor cells and those derived from refrigerated donor cells. This study indicates that refrigeration of donor cells for 1-2 weeks is a feasible protocol for preparing donor cells for bovine somatic nuclear transfer, and does not compromise development in vitro and early development in vivo.


Journal article



Publication Date





801 - 808


Animals, Cattle, Cells, Cultured, Chromosome Mapping, Embryo Transfer, Embryonic and Fetal Development, Female, Micromanipulation, Nuclear Transfer Techniques, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Outcome, Refrigeration, Time Factors, Tissue Preservation, Zona Pellucida