Polyspermy is a common phenomenon in the pig. Extensive information has become available from in vitro studies on not only the quality of oocytes but also the quality of spermatozoa. However, little information is available on the relative penetration rates of fresh and frozen spermatozoa from the same ejaculate from boars of different breeds. The present results, based on a total of 15 boars of three different breeds, revealed that the inter-breed variation in fertilization and polyspermic rates is larger than intra-breed variation. It was also shown that the incidence of polyspermy as well as penetration rate was greatly decreased by freezing and thawing, even if a higher number of sperm was coincubated with cumulus-free oocytes for a longer period compared to fresh sperm of the same ejaculate. This study focuses on the cytoskeletal organization of the oocyte with respect to the status of cumulus investment, and monospermic and polyspermic fertilization. The status of cumulus cells correlated with the density of transzonal cumulus-cell processes and with the maturation rate of oocytes and, to some degrees, the incidence of polyspermy. Polyspermic zygotes formed multiple microtubule domains in association with individual male pronuclei (PN), but in a high degree of polyspermy (more than trispermy), the pronuclear apposition did not proceed. The effect of multiple PN of paternal and maternal origin on the cytoskeletal reorganization is also discussed.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.