To date, production of cloned rats by somatic cell nuclear transfer (NT) has not yet been successful. Inducing premature chromosome condensation (PCC) of injected cell nuclei in recipient cytoplasm is considered essential for successful mouse cloning by the Honolulu method. In the present study, some factors affecting PCC of rat cumulus cell nuclei injected into rat oocytes were examined. Wistar female rats (young: 4 to 5-week-old, mature: ≥10-week-old) were superovulated by injections of eCG and hCG, and oocytes recovered 14 or 17 h after hCG injection were received with cumulus cell nuclei using piezo-driven micromanipulator. When the oocytes were recovered 14 h post-hCG injection from young rats and the nuclear injection into oocytes was completed within 45 min, PCC was observed in 44-49% of NT oocytes. In the case of oocytes from mature rats, PCC occurred in 11-19% of the NT oocytes. Oocytes recovered 17 h post-hCG injection did not support PCC of the injected nuclei (0-7%) regardless of the donor age. Treatment of oocytes with a neutral cysteine protease inhibitor, N-acetylleucylleucylnorleucinal, slightly increased the incidence of PCC (48 vs 37%). Comparison of rat strains for oocyte donors indicated that proportions of NT oocytes undergoing PCC in Wistar and LEW oocytes (41-46%) were higher than those in Donryu and F344 oocytes (17-25%). Thus, ability of rat oocytes to promote PCC of the injected nuclei is dependent on the characteristics of oocytes, such as age or strain of donor rats, and timing of oocyte recovery.
We investigated endometrial expression of trophinin mRNA and protein, homophilic cell adhesion molecules, during the estrous cycle of gilts. An immunopositive reaction for trophinin was observed in the luminal and glandular epithelia of the endometrium at all stages of the estrous cycle, but not in endometrial stromal cells or the myometrium. A partial coding sequence of porcine trophinin was similar to sequences in humans and mice, with homologies of 75% and 70%, respectively. As in humans and mice, the trophinin gene is expressed in the endometrium. Trophinin, however, is expressed in the endometrium of the pig throughout the estrous cycle, higher expression levels were observed at some points of the luteal phase, as in humans. These findings suggest that regulation of trophinin gene expression in the pig is different from that in mice, but similar to that in humans. Furthermore, the present results suggest that the pig might be a suitable model for studying the physiological importance of trophinin in early pregnancy in humans.
The present study was designed to determine the localization of nitric oxide synthase-3 (NOS-3) in porcine follicles during follicular development. A 130-kDa NOS-3 protein was found with greater frequency much in the oocytes than in the cumulus cells, as revealed by Western blotting analysis. The content of NOS-3 in the oocyte was higher in large follicles (> 7-mm diameter) than in small follicles (< 2-mm). The data by Western blotting showed the same pattern as the observations obtained from the immunohistochemical studies, in which the periphery of the oocyte stained strong positive. The inner surface cell layer of granulosa cells and cumulus cells were positive staining, especially in large antral follicles. In the primordial follicles, NOS-3 was restricted to the cytoplasm of oocytes, and no stained product was observed in the nucleus of oocytes or granulosa cells. A significant synthesis of NO by oocytes was observed in the presence of ionomycin, but not in the absence of ionomycin, indicating that oocyte NOS-3 functions in response to transient elevations in the intracellular calcium level. We concluded that NOS-3 is expressed in the oocyte from the primordial follicular stage to antral follicular stage, and that it is functional at least in the antral follicles.
The aims of the present study were (1) to investigate the influence of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) on follicular size, on the secretion of oxytocin (OT), progesterone (P), estradiol (E), IGF binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3), inhibin A, inhibin B and cAMP and on the expression of proliferation-associated peptide PCNA, ERK-related mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK/ERK1, 2) and protein kinase A (PKA) in cultured porcine ovarian follicles; (2) to examine the effects of OT on IGF-I and on these functions; and (3) to determine whether the effects of IGF-I can be mediated by OT. To define the involvement of OT in mediating IGF-I action, we compared responses of porcine ovarian follicles to IGF-I and OT and examined whether blockade of endogenous OT by specific antiserum can affect IGF-I action. It was observed that IGF-I (1, 10 or 100 ng/ml) was able to prevent a decrease in the size of ovarian follicles during culture and caused an increase in the diameter of some follicles. It also stimulated the secretion of OT, P, IGFBP-3, inhibin A and cAMP, decreased the secretion of E and inhibin B (RIA/EIA/ELISA), and induced the expression of PCNA, PKA, MAPK/ERK1, but not MAPK/ERK2 (Western blotting). Like IGF-1, OT (100 ng/ml) prevented decrease in follicular size and increased the diameter of some follicles. It also stimulated the secretion of P and IGF-I, but not E. Antiserum against OT (1%), when given alone, did not affect the reduction of follicular size but slightly increased the percentage of follicles increasing their diameter during culture. The antiserum also inhibited secretion of OT and cAMP but not the secretion of P, E, IGFBP-3 or the expression of PKA, MAPK/ERK1 or 2. When given together with IGF-I, the antiserum prevented the stimulatory action of IGF-I on the proportion of enlarged follicles and on OT, IGFBP-3 and MAPK/ERK1. It augmented the effect of IGF-I on P, but not the effect on E, cAMP, PKA or MAPK/ERK2. These observations demonstrate the involvement of IGF-I and OT in the control of ovarian follicular size and follicular cell proliferation, progestagen, estrogen, IGFBP-3, inhibin A and B secretion and in cAMP/PKA- and MAPK/ERK1-dependent intracellular mechanisms. Furthermore, the reciprocal stimulation of IGF-I and OT and the similarity of some their effects, together with the prevention or augmentation of some IGF-I effects after OT blockade, suggest that IGF-I action can be mediated by OT.
Glucoprivation induced by 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2DG) suppresses pulsatile luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion in female rats. The suppression is enhanced in the presence of estrogen. In the present study, 2DG-induced Fos expression was examined in the solitary tract nucleus (NTS), hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN), raphe obscurus nucleus (ROb) and raphe pallidus nucleus (RPa), which have been previously suggested to be involved in glucoprivation-induced suppression of LH secretion in female rats. Ovariectomized (OVX) or estrogen-primed ovariectomized (OVX+E2) rats were injected intravenously with 2DG (400 mg/kg BW). The brain was removed 1 h after the injection. The number of Fos-like-immunoreactive (Fos-li) cells in the PVN and NTS was significantly increased in OVX+E2 rats compared with control groups, but did not show a significant increase in the OVX group. Few Fos-li cells were observed in the ROb and RPa in all groups. All of the Fos-li cells in the PVN and NTS were neurons because they had immunoreactivities to microtubule-associated protein 2. Some Fos-li cells (8.3%) had tyrosine hydroxylase-like immunoreactivities in the NTS in 2DG-treated OVX+E2 rats. These results suggest that neurons in the PVN and NTS are involved in the estrogen-dependent neural cascade mediating glucoprivic suppression of LH secretion in female rats.
This study was designed to evaluate the parthenogenetic activation of porcine oocytes matured in vitro for a varied period after combined electric pulse (EP; 1500 V/cm, 100 μsec) and Butyrolactone I (BL I). After 36 h of maturation culture, the rates of activated oocytes and oocytes with two pronuclei were significantly lower than those of oocytes cultured for 42 and 48 h after EP. However, when treated by a combined EP and BL I (150 μM), these rates increased to the same level as 42 and 48 h oocytes. When oocytes cultured for 48 h and activated by a combined EP and BL I treatment were subsequently cultured in mNCSU37 medium, the rates of embryos cleaved and developed to the blastocyst stage were significantly higher than those in Whitten's medium. In contrast, when activated oocytes were cultured in mNCSU37 medium under two oxygen environments (5% vs 20% O2), there was no difference in the rates of cleavage, blastocyst formation and nuclear numbers per blastocyst. Our results demonstrated that the combined EP and BL I treatment of porcine oocytes matured in vitro is capable of producing high rates of good quality blastocysts when cultured in a suitable in vitro condition.
The objective of the present study was to investigate the correlation between the degree of cumulus expansion and in vitro development of porcine cumulus-oocytes complexes (COCs) matured and fertilized in vitro. The COCs were matured in the maturation medium (IVMM) supplemented with 15% or 5% of porcine follicular fluid (PFF) from small, medium and large follicles (<2 mm, 2-5 mm and >5 mm, respectively). COCs cultured in IVMM with PFF for 48 h displayed less expansion than those cultured in IVMM alone (P<0.05), irrespective of follicle size. After culture for 24 h in IVMM with PFF and for another 24 h in IVMM alone, the degree of cumulus expansion was more prominent than culture in the presence of PFF for the entire 48 h period (P<0.05), but the percentages of oocytes with PB I showed no significant difference between the control and experimental groups (P>0.05). After in vitro fertilization, the oocytes failed to develop to the morula/blastocyst stages except for those matured in IVMM supplemented with 15% or 5% PFF obtained from >5 mm follicles for the first 24 h and followed by in IVMM alone for the second 24 h (12.5% and 11.1% of the embryos developed to morulae and blastocysts, respectively). The expanded cumulus areas of COCs were significantly positively correlated with their in vitro development (p=0.0058, 0.0001 and 0.0348 for the percentages of embryos developed to 2-4 cell, beyond 4 cell and morula and blastocyst stages, respectively). In conclusion, PFF had an inhibiting effect on cumulus expansion, and the inhibitory effect decreased progressively with the increase in size of follicles from which PFF was obtained, and the action of PFF on cumulus expansion was affected by the PFF culture time. The areas of the expanded cumulus mass may be used as a parameter to predict development of porcine oocytes matured and fertilized in vitro.
The present study undertook chemical analysis of components of Pfaffia paniculata roots. In addition, an animal experiment was conducted in which mice had ad libitum access to water enriched with powdered P. paniculata root for 30 days. Changes in plasma concentrations of estradiol-17β and progesterone in female mice and of testosterone in male mice were ascertained. The results revealed that P. paniculata roots contain two types of phytosteroids, β-sitosterol and stigmasterol, in addition to other compounds such as pfaffic acid, allantoin, saponins, β-sitosteryl-β-D-glucoside, and stigmasteryl-β-D-glucoside. Regarding changes in plasma concentrations of hormones, levels of the sex hormones estradiol-17β, progesterone and testosterone were clearly higher for mice that drank P. paniculata root-enriched water than for mice that drank plain water. Powdered P. paniculata root is easily dissolved in feed or water, and as no adverse reactions were seen in mice within 30 days of oral intake, consumption of P. paniculata for long periods of time appears safe.