Transgenic rats have been used as model animals for human diseases and organ transplantation and as animal bioreactors for protein production. In general, transgenic rats are produced by pronuclear microinjection of exogenous DNA. Improvement of post-injection survival has been achieved by micro-vibration of the injection pipette. The promoter region, structural gene, chain length and strand ends of the exogenous DNA are not involved in the production efficiency of transgenic rats. Exogenous DNA prepared at 5 μg/ml seemed to be better integrated than lower and higher concentrations. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) has been successfully achieved in rats using a piezo-driven injection pipette. The ICSI technique has not only been applied to rescue infertile male strains but also to produce transgenic rats. The optimal DNA concentration for the ICSI-tg method (0.1 to 0.5 μg/ml) is lower than that for the conventional pronuclear microinjection. Production efficiency was improved when the membrane structure of the sperm head was partially disrupted by detergent or ultrasonic treatment before exposure to the exogenous DNA solution. For successful production of transgenic rats with a modified endogenous gene, establishment of embryonic stem cell lines or alternatively male germline stem cell lines and technical development of somatic cell nuclear transfer are still necessary for this species.
The objective of this study was to investigate the changes in secretion of inhibin and cellular localization of the inhibin α and inhibin/activin (βA and βB) subunits in male Japanese quail from 1 to 7 weeks after hatching. The post-hatch profile of plasma luteinizing hormone (LH), immunoreactive (ir) inhibin and testosterone were measured by radioimmunoassay. Testes were immunostained by the avidin-biotin-peroxidase complex method (ABC) using polyclonal antisera raised against inhibin α, inhibin/activin βA and inhibin/activin βB from one week of age to sexual maturity. Testicular weight increased gradually until 4 weeks and abruptly increased from 5 weeks of age onwards. The plasma concentrations of LH and ir-inhibin increased significantly at 5 weeks of age, and the plasma concentration of testosterone increased significantly at 6 weeks of age. Pituitary contents of LH showed a steady increase until 6 weeks of age and then abruptly increased at 7 weeks of age. Coincident to the increase in plasma testosterone, the testicular contents of testosterone significantly increased from 5 weeks through sexual maturity. Immunohistochemically, localization of the inhibin/activin α, βA and βB subunts was found in the Sertoli and Leydig cells at all ages of development from one week of age to sexual maturity. These results suggest that Sertoli and Leydig cells are the major source of inhibin secretion during development in male Japanese quail.
This study was performed to investigate the effect of partial zona pellucida incision by piezo micromanipulation (ZIP) on the in vitro fertilizing ability of stored mouse spermatozoa. The storage conditions were optimized by storing the mouse epididymides at 4 C in mineral oil or in the mouse body for up to 4 days after death, and the retrieved spermatozoa were used to fertilize fresh oocytes. No significant difference was observed in fertilization rates between the treatments when epididymides were stored for up to 2 days, but the fertilization rates in mineral oil were higher (P<0.05) than those in the mouse body at 3 (41.4 vs. 16.2%) and 4 days (26.0 vs. 15.8%). Spermatozoa retrieved from epididymides stored in mineral oil were then used to fertilize fresh and vitrified oocytes with or without ZIP treatment. The fertilization rates of the ZIP fresh oocytes were higher than those of the zona-intact oocytes at each time point (1 to 4 days). After ZIP, the fertilization rates of spermatozoa stored for 1 and 2 days (91.2 and 86.6%, respectively) were similar (P>0.05) to that of fresh spermatozoa (91.9%). In regard to vitrified oocytes, the fertilization rates of zona-intact and ZIP oocytes using fresh spermatozoa were 46.7 and 84.7%, while the fertilization rates of vitrified ZIP oocytes using spermatozoa stored for 1 to 4 days ranged from 49.3 to 79.6%. When 2-cell embryos derived from ZIP fresh and vitrified oocytes inseminated with 2 day-stored spermatozoa were transferred into recipient females, 47.9 and 15.0% of the embryos developed to term, respectively. These results indicate that storing mouse epididymides at 4 C in mineral oil is more suitable than storage in the mouse body and that the ZIP technique improves the in vitro fertilizing ability of stored mouse spermatozoa in fresh oocytes and significantly increases the fertilization rate of vitrified oocytes with fresh spermatozoa.
Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and Indian hedgehog (Ihh) are essential for embryo implantation in mice and are regulated by the actions of 17β-estradiol (E2) and progesterone, respectively. The present study examined the effect of LIF on Ihh and Ihh-related factors in the uterine luminal epithelium during the implantation period using a DNA microarray. Expression of Ihh mRNA reached its peak on the forth day of pregnancy, and progesterone receptor (Pgr) mRNA decreased on the fifth day of pregnancy in wildtype mice. On the other hand, these changes in expression were not seen in LIF-/- mice. Ihh and Pgr mRNA were upregulated by LIF injection in delayed implantation mice. This up-regulation of Pgr was transient and preceded an increase of Ihh mRNA. Ihh mRNA also increased after E2 injection in delayed implantation mice of the LIF-/- genotype. E2 did not affect transcription of Pgr mRNA in the uterine luminal epithelium of delayed implantation LIF-/- mice. Using an antibody against the C-terminal epitope of Ihh, unprocessed Ihh proteins, but not C-terminal peptides, by autoproteolytic cleavage of Ihh were detected by western blot analysis. Unprocessed Ihh did not show quantitative changes between the wildtype and LIF-/- mice during the implantation period. Transcription of hedgehog acyltransferase was not influenced by LIF and E2 injection. In conclusion, LIF, which has a crucial role in E2 action for initiation of implantation, caused transient induction of Pgr mRNA and subsequent upregulation of Ihh mRNA, which mediates progesterone-Pgr actions for successful implantation.
The present study was carried out to examine whether demecolcine and sucrose affect the formation of a cytoplasmic protrusion containing chromosomes in pig oocytes independently or in combination. In the presence of 20 mM sucrose, the rates of oocytes with a cytoplasmic protrusion after culture for 60 min with 0.2-1.0 μg/ml demecolcine were significantly higher than those with 0.01-0.05 μg/ml demecolcine. When oocytes were cultured for 15 min in the presence of 0.2 μg/ml demecolcine and 20 mM sucrose, 35.1% of them extruded a cytoplasmic protrusion; this rate was significantly lower than those of oocytes cultured for 30-90 min. In the presence of 0.2 μg/ml demecolcine, significantly fewer oocytes extruded a cytoplasmic protrusion after culture for 30 min with 160 mM sucrose than with 0-80 mM sucrose. Significantly more oocytes extruded a cytoplasmic protrusion after culture for 30 min with 0.2 μg/ml demecolcine than without it, regardless of the presence or absence of 20 mM sucrose. In 88.9-100% of the oocytes, the cytoplasmic protrusions contained chromosomes with no significant differences among the different concentrations of demecolcine and sucrose and among the different treatment times. The results of the present study show that the cytoplasmic protrusion containing chromosomes in the pig oocyte is attributable to demecolcine, but sucrose does not affect its formation.
Repro34 is an N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU)-induced mutation in mice showing male-specific infertility caused by defective spermatogenesis. In the present study, we investigated pathogenesis and molecular lesions in relation to spermatogenesis in the repro34/repro34 homozygous mouse. Histological examination of the testis showed that the seminiferous epithelium of the repro34/repro34 mouse contained spermatogonia and spermatocytes but no round and elongating spermatids. Instead of these haploid cells, multinucleated giant cells occupied the niche of the seminiferous tubules. Immunohistochemical staining for Hsc70t, an elongating spermatid specific protein, confirmed the absence of elongating spermatids. Furthermore, RT-PCR showed that there were significantly reduced expressions of the marker genes specifically expressed in the spermatid and that there was no difference in the expressions of the spermatocyte specific marker genes. These findings indicated interruption of the spermatogenesis during transition from the spermatocyte to spermatid in the repro34/repro34 mouse. The repro34 locus has been mapped on a 7.0-Mb region of mouse chromosome 5 containing the Syntaxin 2/Epimorphin (Stx2/Epim) gene, and targeted disruption of this gene has been reported to cause defective spermatogenesis. We therefore sequenced the entire coding region of the Stx2/Epim gene and found a nucleotide substitution that results in a nonsense mutation of this gene. The expression pattern of the Stx2/Epim gene during the first wave of spermatogenesis, increased expression at later stages of spermatogenesis, was in agreement with the affected phase of spermatogenesis in the adult repro34/repro34 testis. We therefore concluded that the male infertility of the repro34/repro34 mouse is caused by the interruption of spermatogenesis during transition from the spermatocyte to spermatid and that the nonsense mutation of the Stx2/Epim gene is responsible for the interruption of spermatogenesis.
The aim of this study was to investigate the antioxidant role of zinc (Zn) in the Cd-exposed testes of Wistar rats. Subchronic exposure to Cd (CdCl2, 40 mg/l, per os) for 30 days resulted in a significant reduction in growth rate (-11%) and relative weights of testes (-36%) and seminal vesicles (-80%). Treated rats displayed a decrease in testicular and plasma testosterone levels, respectively (-70%, P<0.05; -48%, P<0.05), epididymal sperm count (-22%, P<0.05), and spermatozoa motility (-35%, P<0.05). In contrast, Cd increased the malondialdehyde (+46%, P<0.05), metallothionein (+200%, P<0.05), and 8-oxodGuo concentrations (+71%, P<0.05) in the testis. In the gonad, Cd decreased the GPx (-30%, P<0.05), CAT (-32%, P<0.05), mitochondrial Mn-SOD (-34%, P<0.05), and cytosolic CuZn-SOD (-32%, P<0.05) activities. Zinc supplementation (ZnCl2, 40 mg/l, per os) in the Cd-exposed rats restored the activities of GPx, CuZn-SOD, and Mn-SOD in the testes to the levels of the control group. Moreover, zinc administration was capable of reducing the elevated levels of malondialdehyde in the testis. Interestingly, zinc supplementation attenuated DNA oxidation induced by Cd in the gonad and restored the testosterone level and sperm count to the levels of the control group. Zinc administration minimized oxidative damage and reversed the impairment of spermatogenesis and testosterone production induced by Cd in the rat testis.
Preimplantation development of canine embryos is not well understood. To understand the timing of preattachment embryogenesis relative to the luteinizing hormone (LH) surge, early embryonic development was examined in Labrador Retrievers after artificial insemination. The embryos migrated from the oviduct to the uterus beginning on day 11 after the LH surge. This transport must be completed within 24 h. By day 13 after the LH surge, all of the embryos had moved and were localized in the uterus. The embryos developed to the morula stage within 11-13 days and to the blastocyst stage within 14 days after the LH surge, respectively. These findings add to the current understanding concerning the physiology of preimplantation development and should help further develop assisted reproductive techniques in canine species, such as cryopreservation and subsequent embryo transfer.
Two neuropeptides, neuropeptide B (NPB) and prolactin-releasing peptide (PrRP), have been suggested to play important roles in control of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in rodents. The aim of the present study was to clarify the central actions of NPB or PrRP in sheep. Ovariectomized ewes were surgically implanted with a cannula directed to the lateral ventricle. They received intracerebroventricular (icv) administration of 400 μl of artificial cerebrospinal fluid, NPB (0.05, 0.5 or 5 nmol), PrRP (0.5, 5 or 50 nmol) or corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH, 0.5 or 5 nmol) through the cannula, and blood samples were taken 30 and 0 min prior to and 15, 30, 60 and 90 min after the injection. Cortisol concentrations in plasma were determined by enzyme immunoassay. Administration of 0.5 nmol NPB resulted in a significant increase in the cortisol concentration compared with the vehicle control, whereas the cortisol concentration after lower or higher doses of NPB did not differ from the control value. Thus, an icv injection of NPB produced a bell-shaped dose-response of cortisol concentration. Administration of PrRP had no significant effect on the cortisol concentrations at any dose examined. Icv injection of CRH dose-dependently increased plasma cortisol concentrations. These results demonstrate that central NPB stimulates cortisol secretion, suggesting that this neuropeptide plays some roles in control of the HPA axis in sheep. On the other hand, unlike its role in rodents, PrRP is unlikely to be involved in control of the HPA axis in this species.
This study was conducted to investigate the developmental capacity of domestic cat-bovine reconstructed embryos via interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer (iSCNT) and to observe the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content of the iSCNT embryos. The iSCNT embryos were generated using mixed-breed domestic cat fibroblasts as donor cells and enucleated bovine oocytes as the recipient cytoplasm. When the developmental capacities of iSCNT embryos and parthenogenic bovine embryos were compared, there was no difference (P>0.05) in the rates of cleavage and development to the 8-cell stage (86.6 vs. 84.0% and 32.2 vs. 36.2%, respectively). However, in contrast to development of parthenogenic embryos to the morula and blastocyst stages, no iSCNT embryos (0/202) developed beyond the 8-cell stage. For mtDNA analysis, iSCNT embryos at the 1-cell, 2-cell, 4-cell and 8-cell stages were randomly selected. Both cat and bovine mtDNA quantification analysis were performed using quantitative PCR. The levels of both cat and bovine mtDNA in cat-bovine iSCNT embryos varied at each stage of development. The cat mtDNA concentration in the iSCNT embryos was stable from the 1-cell to 8-cell stages. The bovine mtDNA in the iSCNT embryos at the 8-cell stage was significantly lower than that at the 4-cell stage (P<0.05). No difference in the proportions of cat mtDNA in the iSCNT embryos was found in any of the observed developmental stages (1- through 8-cell stages). In conclusion, bovine cytoplasm supports domestic cat nucleus development through the 8-cell stage. The mtDNA genotype of domestic cat-bovine iSCNT embryos illustrates persistence of heteroplasmy, and the reduction in mtDNA content might reflect a developmental block at the 8-cell stage.