Our work with both sheep and mouse models has revealed many of the neural substrates and signalling pathways involved in olfactory recognition memory in the main olfactory system. A distributed neural system is required for initial memory formation and its short-term retention-the olfactory bulb, piriform and entorhinal cortices and hippocampus. Following memory consolidation, after 8 h or so, only the olfactory bulb and piriform cortex appear to be important for effective recall. Similarly, whereas the glutamate-NMDA/AMPA receptor-nitric oxide (NO)-cyclic GMP signalling pathway is important for memory formation it is not involved in recall post-consolidation. Here, within the olfactory bulb, up-regulation of class 1 metabotropic glutamate receptors appears to maintain the enhanced sensitivity at the mitral to granule cell synapses required for effective memory recall. Recently we have investigated whether fluctuating sex hormone levels during the oestrous cycle modulate olfactory recognition memory and the different neural substrates and signalling pathways involved. These studies have used two robust models of social olfactory memory in the mouse which either involve social or non social odours (habituation-dishabituation and social transmission of food preference tasks). In both cases significant improvement of learning retention occurs when original learning takes place during the proestrus phase of the ovarian cycle. This is probably the result of oestrogen changes at this time since transgenic mice lacking functional expression of oestrogen receptors (ERα and ERβ, the two main oestrogen receptor sub-types) have shown problems in social recognition. Therefore, oestrogen appears to act at the level of the olfactory bulb by modulating both noradrenaline and the glutamate/NO signalling pathway.
The effects of passive immunoneutralization of endogenous inhibin on ovulation rate in immature rats were investigated. Efficiency of superovulation on production of fertilized oocytes was compared between the inhibin antiserum (inhibin-AS) and equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG) protocols. Immature female Wistar strain rats were superovulated with a single injection of 100-200 μl inhibin-AS, with and without an injection of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). A total of 77.8% of the 26-30-day-old rats treated with a single injection of 100-200 μl inhibin-AS ovulated 72 h after treatment, while rats given normal goat serum (NGS; 200 μl) did not ovulate. At 28 days of age, all of the inhibin-AS treated rats ovulated when additional hCG treatment was given, whereas the number of ovulated oocytes was not affected. The number of ovulated oocytes in the inhibin-AS-hCG treated groups was significantly higher than that of the NGS-hCG treated group. In addition, plasma concentrations of FSH in the inhibin-AS-hCG treated group significantly increased compared with the NGS treated group. While the percentage of mated rats in the 200 μl inhibin-AS-hCG treated group was significantly lower than that of the 15 IU eCG-hCG treated group, the fertilization rate was comparable between the two groups. The number of fertilized oocytes in the 200 μl inhibin-AS-hCG treated group was significantly higher in comparison with the 15 IU eCG-hCG treated group. These results suggest that immunoneutralization of endogenous inhibin could be a reliable method for induction of superovulation to collect a large number of normally fertilized oocytes in immature rats.
We succeeded in noninvasively analyzing the distribution of tetraploid (4n) cells in tetraploid↔diploid (4n↔2n) chimeric embryos by using enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) transgenic (Tg) mouse embryos. We also evaluated whether this technique of analyzing 4n-cells in EGFP Tg 4n↔2n chimeric embryos could be used to determine which characteristics of 4n-cells cause the death of 4n-embryos and restricted distribution of 4n-cells in 4n↔2n-chimeric embryos after implantation. In our experiments, the distribution of 4n-cells in 4n↔2n-embryos was normal until an embryonic age of 3.5 days (E3.5). With respect to morphological development, there were no differences between 4n-, diploid (2n), 4n↔2n-, and diploid/diploid (2n↔2n) chimeric embryos, but the number of cells in the tetraploid (4n) blastocyst was smaller than expected. This decrease in the number of cells may have caused cell death or reduced the rate of cell division in 4n-cells, and may have restricted the distribution of 4n-cells in 4n↔2n-chimeric embryos. This study demonstrated the utility of EGFP transgenic mouse embryos for relatively easy and noninvasive study of the sequential distribution of cells in chimeric embryos.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficiency of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) and GnRH doses in synchronizing follicular wave emergence as a pretreatment for superovulation in cattle. Fourteen Holstein-Friesian cows 6 days from estrus were randomly assigned to receive 100 μg (n=4), 50 μg (n=5), or 25 μg (n=5) of GnRH. Superovulation was induced with injections of porcine FSH (pFSH) twice daily, decreasing the dose (total 42 AU) over 5 days begining 2.5 days after receiving GnRH. On the 7th and 8th injections of pFSH, 750 μg of PGF2α was also given. With the exception of one cow that was given 50 μg of GnRH, ovulation was induced in all cows from the three groups and the new follicular wave emergence was observed. The total number of follicles for the 25 μg GnRH group was less than that observed for the 100 μg GnRH group (P<0.05), although there were no differences between the 100 μg, 50 μg and 25 μg GnRH groups with respect to the number of preovulatory follicles (≥ 10 mm) and CL. The numbers of normal embryos were greater for the 25 μg GnRH group than the 100 or 50 μg GnRH groups (P<0.01); however, the numbers of ova/embryos did not differ significantly between the three groups. These results suggest that 25 μg of GnRH was sufficient to induce ovulation and follicular wave emergence. On day 6 of the estrous cycle, a reduction of the dose of GnRH to synchronize follicular wave emergence as a pretreatment for superstimulation promotes transferable embryos.
It has been suggested that whey acidic protein (WAP) may function as a protease inhibitor. However, the actual function of WAP remains obscure. We investigated the histological development of the mammary glands of transgenic mice ubiquitously expressing WAP and CAG/WAP transgene. Ubiquitous expression of WAP induced aberrant development of the lobular alveoli of the mammary glands: mammary alveoli that were either aberrantly large or small in size increased in number in the developing mammary glands of these transgenic females during pregnancy and lactation. The expression of β-casein was precociously induced in the mammary glands of the transgenic females during early pregnancy and accompanying this was a histological observation that abnormally developed lobular alveoli filled with milk proteins appeared in the mammary glands of transgenic females during early pregnancy. However, during lactation, the development of mammary glands was impaired in transgenic females. To investigate the possible paracrine action of WAP associated with mammary gland aberration, we transplanted the mammary tissue of CAG/EGFP transgenic females into the fat pad of virgin CAG/WAP transgenic females and initiated pregnancy by mating. The development of mammary tissue transplanted to the recipient was histologically examined on day 3 of lactation. The results revealed that the development of grafted mammary tissues was impaired in a manner similar to that of the mammary glands of CAG/WAP transgenic females, indicating that the inhibitory effect of WAP acts via a paracrine mechanism. In vitro experiments using HC11 cells with forced expression of exogenous WAP demonstrated the inhibitory function of WAP on proliferation of mammary epithelial cells.
To evaluate the effects of bisphenol A (BPA), a candidate endocrine disruptor (ED), on embryonic development, we examined the mRNA expression levels of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR; which binds with many EDs and plays crucial roles in their metabolism) and related factors [aryl hydrocarbon receptor repressor (AhRR) and AhR nuclear translocator (Arnt)], xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes [XMEs; cytochrome P450 1A1 (CYP1A1) and UDP-glucuronosyltransferase, and the glutathione S-transferase Ya subunit (GST)], in murine embryos exposed in utero to BPA (0.02, 2, 200, and 20,000 μg/kg/day) and 17β-estradiol (E2; 5 μg/kg/day, used as a positive control) at 6.5-13.5 or 6.5-17.5 days post coitum (dpc) using the quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method. Protein levels of CYP1A1 and GST in embryonic livers were estimated by Western immunoblotting. Exposure in utero to BPA [0.02 (1/100 dose of environmental exposure), 2, 200, and 20,000 μg/kg/day] increased AhR mRNA expression in the cerebra, cerebella, and gonads (testes and ovaries) of male and female mid-and late-developmental stage (14.5- and 18.5-dpc, respectively) embryos. BPA dose-independently up-regulated the expression of AhRR and Arnt in mid- and late-stage embryos. BPA had no remarkable effect on the mRNA levels of XMEs in mid-stage embryos, but dose-dependently up-regulated the expression in late-stage embryos. Moreover, the protein levels of these enzymes in the livers of late-stage embryos were increased. The present findings revealed that exposure to BPA in utero disrupts the expression of AhR and related factors and of xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes, and that mid-stage embryos, in the organogenic stage, are sensitive to BPA.
We report the nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequences of the pituitary glycoprotein hormone common α-subunit, and the FSH and LH β-subunits of the elk (Cervus elaphus). These sequences were obtained by RT-PCR of pituitary gland polyadenylated RNA. A partial genomic fragment of the elk follicle stimulating hormone β-subunit was also amplified from genomic DNA and sequenced. These sequences show high similarity to other related domestic species, including sika deer, ovine, bovine, porcine and equine. The presently reported cDNAs were used as probes for Northern analysis of pituitary gland and muscle samples from elk and sheep. Mature mRNA transcripts of approximately 700, 1700 and 550 bases were expressed in the pituitary gland but not in muscle tissue, for the glycoprotein hormone common α-subunit and FSH and LH β-subunits, respectively. These observations are consistent with reports for other related species. The genomic fragment of elk FSH β-subunit revealed an intronic microsatellite of 6 CT repeats, which differs from the 19 CT repeats documented for the sheep genomic sequence. We propose that differences in the CT repeats of the elk FSH β-subunit gene may be used as a marker for elk parentage testing. The elk DNA sequences presently reported represent a unique addition to the growing collection of the pituitary hormone genes for various vertebrates, which will facilitate evolutionary and phylogenetic studies of the gonadotropin genes. In addition, this information and the cloned cDNAs will be useful for studying seasonal expression of the elk pituitary glycoprotein genes.
The inhibition of mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation during porcine oocyte maturation leads to decreased maturation promoting factor (MPF) activity and to the induction of parthenogenetic activation. In the present study, in order to analyze the mechanism underlying the suppression of MPF activity in MAPK-inhibited porcine oocytes, we injected mRNA of SASA-MEK, a dominant negative MAPK kinase, or antisense RNA of c-mos, a MAPK kinase kinase, into immature porcine oocyte cytoplasm. The injection of SASA-MEK mRNA or c-mos antisense RNA inhibited the MAPK activity partially or completely, respectively, decreased the MPF activity slightly or significantly, respectively, and induced parthenogenetic activation in 17.1% or 96.6% of mature oocytes, respectively, although no parthenogenetic activation was observed in the control oocytes. Immunoblotting experiments revealed that cyclin B accumulation in these MAPK-suppressed porcine oocytes was increased significantly after 50 h of culture and that a considerable amount of MPF was converted into inactive pre-MPF by hyperphosphorylation. These results indicate that the inhibition of MAPK activity in porcine oocytes did not promote cyclin B degradation but rather suppressed it; also the decrease in MPF activity in MAPK-suppressed porcine oocytes correlated with the conversion of active MPF into inactive pre-MPF.
Gap junctions contain channels that connect neighboring cells by allowing the movement of molecules smaller than 1,200 Da. They are formed by connexins and may play a crucial role in the regulation of apoptotic cell death. To determine the role of connexin 43 (Cx43), which is dominantly expressed in granulosa cells, in the regulation of granulosa cell apoptosis during follicular atresia, we examined the changes in the expression and localization of Cx43 mRNA and protein in granulosa cells during atresia using the quantitative real-time revese transcription-polymerase chain reaction, in situ hybridization, Western blot, and immunohistochemistry. Stages of follicular atresia were assessed based on histochemical terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated biotinylated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick end-labeling (TUNEL) and/or the ratio of progesterone and 17β-estradiol levels in follicular fluid measured by radioimmunoassay. Cx43 mRNA was detected in granulosa cells of secondary follicles and of healthy, early and progressed atretic tertiary follicles, but not in those of primordial or primary follicles. Both phosphorylated/activated and non-phosphorylated/native Cx43 proteins were detected in granulosa cells of secondary and tertiary follicles, but not in those of primordial or primary follicles. Moreover, in tertiary follicles, these Cx43 proteins were expressed most strongly in granulosa cells of healthy follicles, but only trace levels were noted in cells of early atretic and progressed atretic follicles, an indication that the expression levels of Cx43 protein decrease during follicular atresia. These findings indicate that Cx43 is involved in the apoptosis of granulosa cells during atresia in porcine ovaries.
Interleukin-18 (IL-18) is a proinflammatory cytokine expressed in female reproductive organs in humans, rats and mice. The physiological roles of uterine IL-18 and the regulatory mechanisms of IL-18 gene expression are unclear. The present study aimed to clarify the effects of estradiol-17β (E2) and progesterone (P4) on IL-18 mRNA expression in the mouse uterus. Distribution and expression levels of IL-18 mRNA were studied using an RNase protection assay. Expression of IL-18 mRNA was observed in all organs studied, including testes, ovaries and uteri. The uterine IL-18 mRNA level of estrous mice was higher than that of diestrous mice. E2 treatment (1, 5, 25 or 250 ng/mouse) decreased uterine IL-18 mRNA levels in ovariectomized mice dose-dependently. E2 treatment acutely decreased IL-18 mRNA levels 3 h after injection, but these levels returned to the initial level after 48 h. P4 treatment (1 mg/mouse) decreased uterine IL-18 mRNA levels after 12 h, but levels returned to the initial level after 48 h. Both uterine IL-18 and IL-18Rα mRNAs were detected in cultured endometrial epithelial and stromal cells. These results suggest that uterine IL-18 expression is reduced by sex steroid hormones and that IL-18 acts on endometrial cells in a paracrine or autocrine manner.
We previously reported that the enforced expression of exogenous whey acidic protein (WAP) significantly inhibited the proliferation of mouse mammary epithelial cells (HC11 and EpH4/H6 cells). This paper presents the first evidence that WAP also depresses the proliferation of mammary tumor cells from mouse (MMT cells) and human (MCF-7 cells). We established WAP-clonal MMT and MCF-7 cell lines, and confirmed the secretion of WAP from the WAP-clonal cells into culture medium. The enforced expression of WAP significantly inhibited the proliferation of MMT and MCF-7 cells in in vitro culture. FACScan analyses revealed that G0/G1 phase cell-cycle progression was disordered and elongated in the WAP-clonal MMT and MCF-7 cells compared to that of the control cells. The expression of cyclin D1 was significantly decreased in the WAP-clonal MMT and MCF-7 cells, suggesting that progression from the G1 to the S phase was delayed in the WAP-clonal cells. The present results indicate that WAP plays a negative regulatory role in the cell-cycle progression of mammary tumor cells via a paracrine mechanism.
Methyl methanesulphonate (MMS), a potent alkylating agent and testicular toxicant, was orally administered to rats for 5 days at 40 mg/kg. During the recovery period of up to 5 weeks, males were evaluated for testicular toxicity and sperm morphology. The 5-week recovery period were designated as follows: Day 1 (the day after final treatment); Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4 and Week 5 (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 weeks after final treatment). Morphologically abnormal sperm increased beginning in Week 3, peaked in Week 4 and declined slightly in Week 5. Histopathological examinations indicated retention of step 19 spermatids at stage IX from Day 1 through Week 3. Quantitative evaluation of spermatogenic cells indicated a decrease in the number of late pachytene spermatocytes and early spermatids on Day 1. TUNEL examination showed a significantly high frequency of apoptosis in the meiosis cells in Week 1. In the present study, genetic damage induced by treatment with MMS affected spermatogenesis and a wide variety of spermatogenic cells in the testis. Apoptosis in the course of meiosis seemed to be involved in the elimination process of genetically insulted germ cells, and this process seems to play an important role in eliminating and/or decreasing the germ cells with retention of spermatids and the potential to express morphologically abnormal spermatozoa.
The objective of the present study was to evaluate estrus synchronization and conception rate after progesterone releasing intravaginal device (PRID) treatment from the early luteal phase in the presence or absence of estradiol benzoate (EB) in heifers. Heifers (n=11) were assigned randomly to two treatments; insertion of a PRID containing 1.55 g progesterone with a capsule attached including 10 mg EB (P+EB; n=6) and the PRID withdrawn the EB capsule (P-EB; n=5). The PRID was inserted into the vagina on Day 2 of the estrous cycle (Day 0 was the day of ovulation) and was left for 12 days. The proportion of heifers exhibiting standing estrus within 3 days after PRID removal was 83.3% (5/6) for the P+EB group, and 80.0% (4/5) for the P-EB group, respectively. Conception rate by artificial insemination on synchronized estrus was 80.0% (4/5) in the P+EB group, and 100% (4/4) in the P-EB treatment group, respectively. These results suggest that a PRID treatment from 2 days after ovulation for 12 days in the presence or absence of EB has an effect on the synchronization of estrus and produces a beneficial conception rate in heifers.
The present study was performed to detect the presence of gap junction protein connexin 43 (Cx43) and describe the changes in its expression during ovarian follicular atresia in the swamp buffalo in comparison with cattle. Ovaries of Philippine swamp buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis; SB) and Holstein-Friesian cows (Bos taurus; HF) were collected from slaughterhouses, fixed in 10% formalin in PBS and embedded in paraffin. Sections of healthy follicles and at various follicular stages of atresia were immunostained with anti-Cx43 antibody. Cx43 appeared as punctate staining between granulosa cells (healthy to advanced atretic follicles), indicating assembled gap junctions, but was absent in the theca interna. In SB as well as in HF, granulosa cells showed a dense, moderate, and sparse immunoreactivity to Cx43 in healthy, early atretic, and advanced atretic follicles, respectively. Cumulus cells (in the advanced atretic follicle) surrounding oocytes and adjacent granulosa layers retain the Cx43 protein, although there was only a sparse expression of Cx43 observed in the granulosa layers distant from oocytes in the same follicles. The results indicate that gap junction protein Cx43 decreases in association with atresia and supports the concept that a loss of gap junctional communication plays a coordinating role in the process of atresia. Furthermore, the schema of Cx43 immunoreactivity in SB granulosa cells is similar to that of HF.
The goal of our present study was to observe whether the populations of antigen presenting cells (Ia+ cells) and T cell subsets (CD4+ and CD8+ T cells) change in the utero-vaginal junction (UVJ) of Rhode Island Red laying hens that showed dramatic declines in fertility after repeated artificial insemination (AI). Rhode Island Red laying hens were divided into two groups: a virgin group (R-V) and artificial inseminated group (R-AI), which was exposed to weekly AI for a period of 3 mo. Undiluted fresh semen collected from healthy Tosa-Jidori roosters, a native Japanese breed maintained in Kochi Prefecture, was used for AI. The UVJ tissues were processed for frozen sections, and Ia+ cells and CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were identified by immunohistochemistry. The Ia+ cells and CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were observed in the stroma and mucosal epithelium of UVJ in both the R-AI and R-V birds. The frequencies of them in the stroma were significantly higher in R-AI than R-V. The higher frequency of Ia+ cells in the UVJ of R-AI group indicated a greater potential capability for antigen presentation to CD4+ cells. The significant increase in CD8+ and CD4+ T cells in the UVJ of R-AI birds might be the result of a homing process of lymphocytes, which may affect sperm survivability and fertility.
The size of the ovary varies substantially among cattle. This variation may influence the potential of the ovary to produce follicles. In the present study, we examined whether a relationship exists between the weight of the ovary and the number of antral follicles ≥1 mm. Paired ovaries were obtained from Holstein × Japanese Black F1 heifers. Follicles were classified into three size categories (small: 1.0 - < 5.0 mm, medium: 5.0 - < 8.5 mm and large: ≥ 8.5 mm), and the number of follicles in each category was recorded. Large variations in the weight of ovaries and the number of follicles were observed among animals. Significant positive correlations (r≥0.4, P<0.001) were found between the weight of intact ovaries and the number of follicles in all three categories for the ovary contralateral to CL (OCC) and in the small follicles for the ovary ipsilateral to CL (OIC). Significant positive correlations (r>0.4, P<0.0001) were also observed between the weight of ovaries devoid of CL and follicles and the number of small and medium follicles in both OIC and OCC, indicating that the correlation is not due to the increase in ovarian weight associated with the increase in follicular number. Paired ovaries contained a similar number of small and medium follicles, and significant positive correlations were observed between them (r>0.6, P<0.0001). There were significant positive correlations between the weight of OCC and the number of small and medium follicles in paired ovaries (r>0.4, P<0.0001). These results suggest that 1) the weight of an ovary reflects the potential of the ovary to produce antral follicles, and 2) a rough estimation of follicular population might be possible by using the weight of the ovary contralateral to CL in heifers.