2011 Volume 57 Issue 3 Pages 346-354
Embryonic stem (ES) cells are expanded versions of the inner cell mass cells that compose the early mammalian blastocyst. Components derived from ES cells may contain various bioactive materials (BM) helpful for early preimplantation embryo growth. In this study, we examined the effect of human ES cell derived BM (hES-BM) on in vitro culture of bovine embryos. When bovine parthenogenetic day 2 embryos were cultured in 10% hES-BM, a significantly higher embryo development rate (44.3%) and increased cell numbers were observed relative to control medium containing 3 mg/ml BSA (19.5%; P<0.01). Among the various concentrations (5, 10 and 15%) and days of treatment (2 or 4 days) tested, 10% hES-BM treatment for 4 days provided the best culture environment to support the growth of bovine embryos in vitro (P<0.05). Little difference was observed between 10% hES-BM and 10% FBS treatment in the examined parthenogenetic or in vitro fertilized embryos, although the hES-BM group developed at a slightly better rate. However, the ICM cell numbers were significantly higher in the hES-BM group in irrespective of embryo origin (P<0.05). In addition, the relative levels of pluripotency (Oct4, × 1.8 fold; Nanog. × 3.3 fold), embryogenesis (Stat3, × 2.8 fold; FGF4, × 18.8 fold; E-cad, × 2.0 fold) and growth (Glut5, × 2.6 fold) genes were significantly higher in the 10% hES-BM group than in the 10% FBS group (P<0.05), while the levels of other genes (Bax, Bcl2, MnSOD and Connexin43) were not different. This is the first report examining the positive effects of hES-BM on bovine embryo development in vitro. Based on our results, we conclude that hES-BM can be used as a new protein supplement for bovine preimplantation embryo development.