New techniques to boost male and female fertility are being pioneered at a rapid pace in fertility clinics to increase the efficiency of assisted reproduction methods in couples in which natural conception has not been achieved. This study investigates the possible epigenetic effects of ooplasm manipulation methods on postnatal growth and development using a mouse genetic model, with particular emphasis on the possible effects of intergenotype manipulations. We performed interstrain and control intrastrain maternal pronuclear transfers, metaphase-II spindle transfers, and ooplasm transfer between C57BL/6 and DBA/2 mice, and found no major, long-term growth defects or epigenetic abnormalities, in either males or females, associated with intergenotype transfers. Ooplasm transfer itself was associated with reduced viability, and additional subtle effects of ooplasm strain of origin were observed. Both inter- and intrastrain ooplasm transfer were associated with subtle, transient effects on growth early in life. We also performed inter- and intrastrain germinal vesicle transfers (GVTs). Interstrain GVT females, but not males, had significantly lower body weights at birth and thereafter compared with the intrastrain GVT and non-GVT controls. No GVT-associated changes were observed in DNA methylation of the Mup1, Rasgrf1, H19, Snrpn, or Peg3 genes, nor any difference in expression of the imprinted Rasgrf1, Igf2r, or Mest genes. These results indicate that some ooplasm manipulation procedures may exert subtle effects on growth early in life, while intergenotype GVT can result in significant growth deficiencies after birth.
Ooplasm manipulation studies in mice reveal effects of cytoplasm transfer and germinal vesicle transfer on growth.