Article révisé par les pairs
|Objective - To evaluate the effect of in vitro culture on zona pellucida resistance in mouse oocytes and embryos. Method-Zona pellucida resistance was assessed by comparing duration of zona lysis in the presence of alpha- chymotrypsin. The effects of artificial or physiological conditions of development were evaluated by comparing embryos in vitro with those left to reach the same stage of development in vivo. Results - The time required for zona lysis of oocytes increased after 2, 9.4, and 48 hours in vitro (P < .001). The same observation holds true for oocytes left in vivo during 24 hours. Fertilization both in vivo and in vitro induced a major increase in zona resistance. At the two-cell stage, in vitro culture did not harden the zona pellucida. At the morula stage and beyond, enzymatic lysis was slightly longer in vitro as compared to that of similar stages recovered from the genital tract. Conclusions - Our data indicate that in vitro culture conditions do not modify zona hardening in oocytes and only slightly increased zona resistance from the morula stage on.