Nuclear/chromosomal integrity is an important prerequisite for the assessment of embryo quality in artificial reproductive technology. However, lipid-rich dark cytoplasm in bovine embryos prevents its observation by visible light microscopy. We performed live-cell imaging using confocal laser microscopy that allowed long-term imaging of nuclear/chromosomal dynamics in bovine in vitro fertilised (IVF) embryos. We analysed the relationship between nuclear/chromosomal aberrations and in vitro embryonic development and morphological blastocyst quality. Three-dimensional live-cell imaging of 369 embryos injected with mRNA encoding histone H2B-mCherry and enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP)-α-tubulin was performed from single-cell to blastocyst stage for eight days; 17.9% reached the blastocyst stage. Abnormalities in the number of pronuclei (PN), chromosomal segregation, cytokinesis, and blastomere number at first cleavage were observed at frequencies of 48.0%, 30.6%, 8.1%, and 22.2%, respectively, and 13.0%, 6.2%, 3.3%, and 13.4%, respectively, for abnormal embryos developed into blastocysts. A multivariate analysis showed that abnormal chromosome segregation (ACS) and multiple PN correlated with delayed timing and abnormal blastomere number at first cleavage, respectively. In morphologically transferrable blastocysts, 30-40% of embryos underwent ACS and had abnormal PN. Live-cell imaging may be useful for analysing the association between nuclear/chromosomal dynamics and embryonic development in bovine embryos.
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