The influence of postovulatory age on the rate of cleavage in in‐vitro fertilized rat oocytes

R. Shalgi, R. Kaplan, P. F. Kraicer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of postovulatory ‘aging’ in the oviduct on the rate of zygotic development. Two ovulatory ages were tested: oocytes collected from the oviducal ampullae 1) soon after ovulation (denoted freshly ovulated) or 2) 7‐hour postovulation. All the oocytes were from superovulated immature rats. By manipulation of the timing of the ovulatory hormone treatment, it was possible to place both types of oocytes into sperm suspension from the same pool and at the same time. The oocytes and spermatozoa were coincubated overnight. Cleavage was established by interference contrast microscopy. The time of the first cleavage of ova from the 7‐hour postovulation group was clearly advanced. Because the cleavage time curves were not parallel, no reliable estimate of the time difference could be made, but it was clearly in the range of 2 hr. This shift could not be related to any difference in the time of sperm penetration. Both groups of oocytes underwent penetration by spermatozoa at the same time. The time interval between maximal sperm penetration (94% of oocytes in both groups) and maximal cleavage (50% in both groups) was 23 hr in the freshly ovulated and 21 hr in the 7‐hour postovulatory eggs. Nor was the difference related to polyspermy, which was approximately 14% in both groups. These results support the hypothesis that developmental processes are under way in the oocyte before fertilization, but at a much slower rate than after fertilization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-106
Number of pages8
JournalGamete Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1985


  • cleavage (time of)
  • fertilization in vitro
  • oocytes
  • rat


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