2017 Volume 63 Issue 6 Pages 539-545
In embryo transfer experiments in mice, pseudopregnant females as recipients are prepared by sterile mating with vasectomized males. Because only females at the proestrus stage accept males, such females are selected from a stock of animals based on the appearance of their external genital tract. Therefore, the efficiency of preparing pseudopregnant females largely depends on the size of female colonies and the skill of the operators who select females for sterile mating. In this study, we examined whether the efficiency of preparing pseudopregnant females could be improved by applying an estrous cycle synchronization method by progesterone (P4) pretreatment, which significantly enhances the superovulation outcome in mice. We confirmed that after two daily injections of P4 (designated Days 1 and 2) in randomly selected females, the estrous cycles of most females (about 85%) were synchronized at metestrus on Day 3. When P4-treated females were paired with vasectomized males for 4 days (Days 4–8), a vaginal plug was found in 63% (20/32) of the females on Day 7. After the transfer of vitrified-warmed embryos into their oviducts, 52% (73/140) of the embryos successfully developed into offspring, the rate being comparable to that of the conventional embryo transfer procedure. Similarly, 77% (24/31) of females became pregnant by fertile mating with intact males for 3 days, which allowed the scheduled preparation of foster mothers. Thus, our estrous cycle synchronization method may omit the conventional experience-based process of visually observing the vagina to choose females for embryo transfer. Furthermore, it is expected that the size of female stocks for recipients can be reduced to less than 20%, which could be a great advantage for facilities/laboratories undertaking mouse-assisted reproductive technology.