In the mammalian ovary, more than 99% of follicles degenerate without ovulation and few oocytes ovulate and succeed to the next generation. Granulosa cell apoptosis plays a critical role in this process, follicular atresia. However, the molecular mechanisms responsible for the regulation of granulosa cell apoptosis have not been clarified. Death ligand and receptor systems are major apoptosis-inducing factors. This review describes the granulosa cell apoptosis via death ligand and receptor systems during follicular atresia in the porcine ovary.
This review describes the study of freeze-dried mouse sperm for practical application in preserving and transporting genetic resources. Freeze-dried sperm can be used to preserve and transport genetic resources; however, there still remain many areas which need to be studied. In particular, it is essential to assure long-term preservation over several decades or centuries. Recently, the theory of accelerated degradation kinetics to freeze-dried mouse sperm has been applied, and found that long-term preservation by conventional methods requires temperatures lower than -80 C. When the relationship between the pressure at primary drying and the preservation potential of freeze-dried mouse sperm was examined, a pressure of 0.37 mbar at primary drying significantly improved the developmental rate to the blastocyst stage. In addition, it has been shown that freeze-dried sperm stored at -80 C with and without transportation can retain their ability to generate viable offspring after storage for up to 2 years. Sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA) was applied to mouse sperm freeze-dried under several conditions and compared the results with the embryonic developmental rates of freeze-dried sperm after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and with comet assay results. Furthermore, SCSA might be useful for estimation of developmental potential of fertilized eggs derived from ICSI using freeze-dried sperm in mice.
In intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) technique, a sperm was injected into ooplasm directly using a glass pipette. The fertilization physiology in ICSI is considered quite different from that of the natural fertilization. The different mechanisms for fertilization may be the causes of various results in ICSI. In this paper, we focus on the state of sperm membranes, nuclear or DNA integrity during ICSI procedure and discuss the influence of these factors on fertilization and embryonic development. We also introduce some examples in application of ICSI for new technologies in pigs.
Transgenesis constitutes an important tool for pharmacological protein production and livestock improvement. We evaluated the potential of laparoscopic insemination (LI), in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to produce egfp-expressing ovine embryos, using spermatozoa previously exposed to pCX-EGFP plasmid in two different sperm/DNA incubation treatments: "Long Incubation" (2 h at 17 C) and "Short Incubation" (5 min at 5 C). For LI, Merino sheep were superovulated and inseminated with treated fresh semen from Merino rams. The embryos were recovered by flushing the uterine horns. For IVF and ICSI, slaughterhouse oocytes were fertilized with DNA-treated frozen/thawed sperm. All recovered embryos were exposed to blue light (488 nm) to determine green fluorescent morulae and blastocysts rates. High cleavage and morulae/blastocysts rates accompanied the LI and IVF procedures, but no egfp-expressing embryos resulted. In contrast, regardless of the sperm/plasmid incubation treatment, egfp-expressing morulae and blastocysts were always obtained by ICSI, and the highest transgenesis rate (91.6%) was achieved with Short Incubation. In addition, following the incubation of labeled plasmid DNA, after Long or Short exposure treatments, with fresh or frozen/thawed spermatozoa, only non-motile fresh spermatozoa could maintain an attached plasmid after washing procedures. No amplification product could be detected following PCR treatment of LI embryos whose zonae pellucidae (ZP) had been removed. In order to establish conditions for transgenic ICSI in the ovine, we compared three different activation treatments, and over 60% of the obtained blastocysts expressed the transgene. For ICSI embryos, FISH analysis found possible signals compatible with integration events. In conclusion, our results show that in the ovine, under the conditions studied, ICSI is the only method capable of producing exogenous gene-expressing embryos using spermatozoa as vectors.
Exposure of females to the male pheromone induces pulsatile release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in goats. Recently, kisspeptin neurons in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) have been suggested to represent the proximate source of the GnRH pulse generator. In this study, we examined the effects of the pheromone on multiple-unit activity (MUA) in female goats fitted with recording electrodes aimed at the ARC kisspeptin neurons. In all eight goats, periodic bursts in MUA (MUA volleys), which were considered to be electrophysiological manifestations of the GnRH pulse generator, were observed. The mean intervolley interval (T) during the control period was calculated in each goat that was then exposed to the male pheromone for 1 sec at timings of 1/4 T, 1/2 T or 3/4 T after one regularly occurring MUA volley. An instantaneous rise in MUA was observed immediately after the exposure regardless of timing. Exposure at a timing of 3/4 T resulted in an MUA volley within 60 sec following the instantaneous rise in all goats. In contrast, an MUA volley was induced in only 2 goats by exposure at 1/2 T, while exposure at 1/4 T failed to induce an MUA volley in any goats. These results suggest that transmission of the pheromone signal to the ARC, represented by an instantaneous rise, activates the GnRH pulse generator. Moreover, the timing-dependent pheromone action in inducing an MUA volley indicates that the GnRH pulse generator has a refractory period for the pheromone signal after the burst.
A factor responsible for progression to pregnancy establishment in the mare has not been definitively characterized. To identify factors possibly involved in the establishment of equine pregnancy, the endometrium was collected from day 13 (day 0=day of ovulation) cyclic and day 13, 19 and 25 pregnant animals. From initial subtractive hybridization studies, a calcium regulating factor, Stanniocalcin-1 (STC1) mRNA, was found as a candidate molecule expressed uniquely in the pregnant endometrium. Endometrial expression of STC1 mRNA was noted on day 19 and was markedly increased in the day 25 gravid endometrium. STC1 protein was found in the extracts of day 25 gravid endometrium and immunochemically localized in the uterine glands. In addition, STC1 protein was detected in uterine flushing media collected from day 25 pregnant mares. High concentrations of estradiol-17 β (E2) were detected in day 25 conceptuses. E2 levels were much higher in the gravid endometrium than in other regions, whereas progesterone levels did not differ among the samples from different endometrial regions. Expression of STC1 mRNA, however, was not significantly upregulated in cultured endometrial explants treated with various concentrations of E2 (0.01-100 ng/ml) with or without 10 ng/ml progesterone. These results indicate that an increase in STC1 expression appears to coincide with capsule disappearance in the conceptus, and suggest that STC1 from the uterine glands likely plays a role in conceptus development during the pregnancy establishment period in the mare.
The objective of the present study was to examine the effect of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) administration on the induction of persistent cystic follicle in the goat in order to establish a method to experimentally induce cystic follicle. Four cross-bred goats were intramuscularly administered ACTH at 0.78 and 6.25 μg/10 kg twice a day from Days 15 to 21 (Day 0 was defined as the day of last estrus). Follicular status in the ovary was monitored by ultrasound examination. The plasma concentrations of estradiol, progesterone and cortisol were measured. Treatment with ACTH at the 0.78 and 6.25 μg/10 kg levels caused persistent follicles (> 10 days delay from the expected ovulation date) in 50% of the goats in both treatment groups. In those animals, ovulation occurred 17 and 27 days and 11 and 12 days after the expected days in the 0.78 and 6.25 μg/10 kg groups, respectively. The maximum follicle diameters were 10 and 9 mm in the 0.78 and 6.25 μg/10 kg ACTH groups, respectively. In the control group, the estradiol concentration increased on Day 18 and remained at a high level for a few days. However, such an increase was not seen in both ACTH groups. The estradiol concentration increased gradually from Days 21 to 27 in the 6.25 μg/10 kg ACTH group. These results suggest the possibility that ACTH induces persistent follicles in goats, which may be related to the delay of the onset of estradiol secretion followed by its maintenance at a high concentration.
In mice, small oocytes (primordial oocytes) are enclosed within flattened granulosa cells to form primordial follicles around birth. A small number of primordial oocytes enter the growth phase, whereas others are quiescent. The mechanism regulating this selection of primordial oocytes is not well understood. The objective of the present study was to understand the role of p27Kip1, which regulates cell cycle progression in somatic cells, in the growth initiation of primordial oocytes in neonatal mice. We studied the localization of p27Kip1 in 0-, 3-, 5-, 7- and 21-day-old mouse ovaries by immunohistochemistry. Ovaries from 3-day-old mice were treated with p27Kip1 siRNAs (small interfering RNAs), and knockdown of p27Kip1 was determined by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. Ovaries treated with siRNAs were organ-cultured for 6 days, and oocyte growth was estimated histologically. Expression of p27Kip1 was undetectable in the primordial oocytes of newborn mice. In the 3-day-old ovaries (n=3), p27Kip1 was demonstrated in the nucleus of 36 ± 6% primordial oocytes. The percentage of p27Kip1-positive primordial oocytes increased to 72 ± 8 (n=3), 85 ± 7 (n=3) and 93 ± 5 (n=3) in the 5-, 7- and 21-day-old mouse ovaries, respectively. After knockdown of the p27Kip1 protein by siRNAs, a higher proportion of oocytes entered the growth phase in cultured ovaries than those in the control. These results suggest that p27Kip1 negatively regulates primordial oocyte growth and that knockdown of p27Kip1 leads primordial oocytes to enter the growth phase in vitro.
WEE1B, an oocyte-specific kinase, phosphorylates the CDC2 inhibitory site and maintains the meiotic arrest of oocytes at the first meiotic prophase in several mammalian species. However, the molecular mechanisms controlling WEE1B activity have not been fully examined in species other than mice. In the present study, we analyzed the regulation mechanisms of porcine WEE1B (pWEE1B), focusing on the cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) phosphorylation site and intracellular localization. As the PKA phosphorylation site in mouse WEE1B (mWEE1B) was not conserved in pWEE1B, we predicted that four serine residues would be phosphorylatable by PKA in pWEE1B (Ser77, Ser118, Ser133 and Ser149) and constructed FLAG-tagged replaced-pWEE1Bs, in which each of the PKA-phosphorylatable serines was mutated into a non-phosphorylatable alanine. We injected one of their mRNAs into porcine immature oocytes and found that the Ser77-replaced pWEE1B lost the WEE1B function, whereas the wild-type and other replaced-pWEE1Bs could maintain the meiotic arrest of oocytes. Next, the localization of pWEE1B was examined by immunohistochemistry, and exclusive nuclear localization was revealed in the fully grown oocytes. We generated a nuclear localization signal (NLS)-deleted pWEE1B (ΔNLS-pWEE1B) and then overexpressed it in porcine immature oocytes. We found that ΔNLS-pWEE1B was distributed uniformly in the cytoplasm and could not maintain the meiotic arrest of porcine oocytes. These results suggest that pWEE1B is activated after phosphorylation of the Ser77 residue, which is different from the phosphorylation site that activates mWEE1B; that pWEE1B is localized in the nucleus; and that the nuclear localization is essential for its function.
Expression of the glycoprotein progranulin has been recently identified in rodent trophoblast cells during early embryonic development. The aim of our study was to describe the expression pattern of progranulin in human placental tissue specimens by immunostaining. We further analyzed the influence of progranulin on invasion and migration of isolated first trimester villous trophoblast cells. The effect of progranulin on cell proliferation was investigated using the human choriocarcinoma derived cell lines BeWo and Jeg-3. Cells were tested with recombinant human progranulin at various concentrations (0.1, 0.2 and 1.0 μg/ml). The strongest expression of progranulin was observed in the villous trophoblast cells, particularly in the syncytiotrophoblast. The intensity of staining in these cells was higher in the first trimester than in the third trimester. In contrast, the staining of the extravillous trophoblast cells and of the villous and decidual stroma was only weak. Using an ELISA technique, we also detected progranulin in amniotic fluid of the early second trimester. Isolated human first trimester trophoblast cells also expressed and secreted progranulin. Progranulin significantly stimulated the cell proliferation of BeWo cells, but it did not influence the amount of trophoblast cell migration and invasion in vitro. Furthermore, it did not promote the cell proliferation of Jeg-3 cells. Our results suggested that progranulin, although it is mainly synthesized and secreted by villous trophoblast cells, may not primarily act on the villous trophoblast cells in a paracrine or autocrine manner. The observed effect of progranulin on cell proliferation in BeWo cells may indicate a growth stimulating effect also on the small part of proliferating extravillous trophoblast cells during placental development.
DNA methylation is an important factor for the regulation of gene expression in early embryos. It is well known that the satellite I sequence is more heavily methylated in bovine somatic cell nuclear transfer (NT-SC) embryos than in embryos derived from in vitro fertilization (IVF). However, the methylation status of bovine embryos obtained by other procedures is not well known. To clarify DNA methylation levels of bovine embryos obtained from various procedures, we examined satellite I sequences in bovine blastocyst (BC) embryos derived from NT-SC, NT using embryonic blastomeres (NT-EM), in vivo (Vivo), IVF and parthenogenetic treatment (PA). Furthermore, in order to evaluate the efficacy of DNA demethylation by the NT procedure, we determined the DNA methylation levels in bovine embryos in which NT was recapitulated (Re-NT). Although the DNA methylation levels in the NT-SC embryos were higher than those in the other embryos, the NT-EM embryos exhibited lower DNA methylation levels. The satellite I sequence in the NT-SC embryos was more demethylated than that in the donor cells. Although the DNA methylation level in the individual NT-SC embryos showed variation, the full-term developmental efficacy of these embryos were not different. These findings suggest that the methylation level of the satellite I sequence at the BC stage is not related to the abnormalities of bovine embryos produced by NT-SC. There was no difference in methylation levels between Re-NT and NT-SC embryos. Our results indicated that the DNA methylation status differed among embryos produced by various methods and that at least some of the demethylation of the donor cell genome occurred in the recipient cytoplast after NT-SC, but the demethylation ability of the NT procedure was noted in the first NT but not in the second NT.
The hypothesis of the present study was that a GnRH agonist application at early pregnancy would alter the pattern of the key reproductive hormones LH and FSH, and subsequently that of estradiol (E2) and especially progesterone (P4), and improve the conditions for embryo survival in early pregnant gilts. Therefore, the endocrine effects of a GnRH agonist (GnRHa) application to gilts (n=11 GnRHa treated, n=9 saline Controls) were studied in blood samples from the Vena cava caudalis. GnRHa injected on Day 12 after insemination induced elevated (P<0.01) LH and FSH levels for at least 180 min. However, subsequent LH concentrations were not altered up to Day 21 of pregnancy. LH pulse number, estimated in 6-h period samples on Days 13, 15 and 17, was not influenced by treatment and pregnancy. LH pulse amplitude was decreased (P<0.05) on Days 13 to 17 in pregnant gilts of both groups, but not in nonpregnant animals. In pregnant GnRHa-treated gilts, the basal LH level was elevated compared with the Controls (P<0.01). Additionally, differences (P<0.05) in basal LH were present between the pregnant and nonpregnant animals. The P4 and E2 secretion pattern was not affected by GnRHa. P4 concentrations increased (P<0.01) from Day 10 to Day 14 regardless of the treatment. P4 revealed a pulse-like pattern, but without a definite relation to the LH pulse characteristics. Also, pregnancy rate (73 vs. 67%) and the number of fetuses (12.8 ± 2.3 vs. 11.6 ± 2.3) were unaffected in the treated and Control gilts, respectively. The present study did not confirm the initial hypothesis that a GnRHa-mediated LH effect could alter ovarian steroid secretion and favorably support early embryo development and pregnancy outcome.
This study was conducted to improve the developmental ability of nuclear transfer (NT) embryos by using blastomeres from in vitro fertilized (IVF) embryos with high quality as donor cells. The IVF embryos selected at the 2-cell stage at 24-h postinsemination (hpi) and again at the ≥8-cell stage at 48 hpi (Selected-IVF-embryos) showed the highest blastocyst formation rate among embryos. When blastomeres from the Selected-IVF-embryos (Selected-NT group) or Nonselected-IVF-embryos (Non-selected-NT group) were used as donor cells for NT, the blastocyst formation rate in the Selected-NT group (25.6%) was significantly higher than that in the Non-selected-NT group (13.5%). When blastomeres from the Selected-IVF-embryos at 108 (contained many cells before cell division) and 126 hpi (contained many cells immediately after cell division) were used as donor cells for NT (108- and 126-NT groups, respectively), the 126-NT group showed a significantly higher blastocyst formation rate (32.1%) than the 108-NT group (16.8%). Embryo transfer of blastocysts in the 126-NT group showed that 11 of 23 recipients became pregnant; nine calves were obtained. For the NT embryos reconstructed using in vivo derived embryos, 9 of 20 recipients became pregnant; seven calves were obtained. These results indicate that the blastocyst formation rate of NT embryos can be improved by using blastomeres from IVF embryos selected at the early developmental stage, especially immediately after cell division, and that the resultant NT embryos have a high developmental ability to progress to term that is comparable to NT embryos reconstructed using in vivo derived embryos.
The difference between transcriptional and translational activities of genes is one of the remarkable features in spermatogenesis. In this study, we characterized MIF4GD (MIF4G domain containing), a possible translational regulator, to uncover the function during rat spermatogenesis. Western blot analysis revealed the presence of two forms of MIF4GD with molecular sizes of 25 and 16 kDa in various tissues including the testis. An additional 20-kDa form of MIF4GD was also found exclusively in the testis. These three proteins were abundantly present in pachytene spermatocytes and haploid spermatids. Importantly, the 16-kDa MIF4GD was distinguished from the 25- and 20-kDa proteins by presence in fractions of 40S subunits and ribosomes of spermatogenic cells according to analysis of subcellular localizations. These results suggest that the 16-kDa MIF4GD may function as a translational regulator in spermiogenesis.
The purposes of the present study were to establish a noninvasive monitoring assay of fecal progestagen measurement to detect pregnancy and to identify the components of fecal progestagens in early, middle and late pregnancy in cheetahs. Feces were collected from 7 female cheetahs and analyzed from 30 days before the last copulation to parturition in 9 pregnancies. Blood was collected from one cheetah. Fecal progestagen and serum progesterone concentrations were determined by enzyme immunoassay (EIA). The profiles of the fecal progestagen concentrations were similar to the serum progesterone profile. Fecal progestagen and serum progesterone concentrations remained at the baseline until copulation. In the mean fecal progestagen profile during pregnancy (92.8 ± 0.4 days; from the last copulation to parturition), the concentrations increased 3-4 days after the last copulation and remained high until parturition. To investigate changes in the components of progestagen metabolites in the tripartite periods of gestation, fecal progestagens were analyzed by HPLC-EIA. Marked immunoreactive peaks consistent with 5α-pregnan-3α/β-ol-20-one and 5α-pregnan-3,20-dione and small peaks consistent with 5β-pregnan-3α/β-ol-20-one were detected. There were no distinct difference in the components of progestagens among the first, second and third trimesters of pregnancy. The hormone assay, as an indicator of fecal 5α-reduced pregnanes, is useful for detecting pregnancy and monitoring pregnant luteal activity in cheetahs.
The objectives of this study were 1) to determine the effects of adding a CIDR to the Ovsynch protocol on plasma concentrations of estradiol-17β and progesterone and conception in dairy cows with cystic ovarian diseases and 2) to examine associations among the estradiol-17β and progesterone concentrations and conception. Cows were diagnosed as having cystic ovarian diseases if they were found to have a cystic follicle (diameter ≥25 mm) without a corpus luteum by two palpations per rectum with an interval for 7 to 14 days. They were treated with either the Ovsynch (GnRH on Day 0, PGF2α on Day 7 and GnRH on Day 9, with AI on Day 10; n=15) or Ovsynch+CIDR protocol (Ovsynch protocol plus a CIDR from Day 0 to Day 7; n=23). Plasma estradiol-17β concentrations were determined on Days 0, 7 and 9, and plasma progesterone concentrations were determined on Days 0, 7, 9 and 17. The plasma estradiol-17β and progesterone concentrations at all of the days examined and conception rates did not differ significantly between the two timed AI protocols. The progesterone concentrations on Day 17 and conception rates were lower (P<0.05) for cows with low concentrations of estradiol-17β (<2 pg/ml) on Day 9 than for cows with high concentrations of estradiol-17β (≥2 pg/ml). The present study suggests that, in dairy cows with cystic ovarian diseases, addition of a CIDR to the Ovsynch protocol had no remarkable effects on plasma estradiol-17β and progesterone concentrations during and after the treatments or on conception after timed AI. This study indicates that the low plasma estradiol-17β concentration at the second administration of GnRH in the protocols can be a predictor for impaired luteal formation and lower likelihood of pregnancy in dairy cows with cystic ovarian diseases.
The aim of the present study was to optimize the conditions for in vitro development and postvitrification survival of somatic cell cloned feline embryos. To determine the effects of cell cycle synchronization of the nuclear donor cells, we cultured preadipocytes under serum starvation or conventional conditions. After two days in serum starvation culture, the proportion of synchronized donor cells at the G0/G1 phase was 91.6%. This was significantly higher than the proportion of non-synchronized cells in the proliferative phase (72.6%, P<0.05). The in vitro development of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) embryos reconstructed using donor cells treated under serum starvation conditions (normal cleavage rate of 65.7%, 46/70, and blastocyst formation rate of 20.0%, 14/70) was comparable to that of the serum supplemented group (52.5%, 31/59, and 20.3%, 12/59). Use of in vitro or in vivo matured oocytes as recipient cytoplasts equally supported development of the SCNT embryos to the blastocyst stage (11.9%, 5/42, vs. 9.5%, 2/21). SCNT-derived blastocysts were vitrified using the original minimum volume cooling (MVC) or the modified (stepwise) MVC method. Although none (n=10) of the SCNT blastocysts survived following vitrification by the original MVC method, the stepwise MVC method resulted in 100% survival after rewarming (n=11). In conclusion, we demonstrated that feline somatic cell cloned embryos with a high developmental ability can be produced irrespective of cell cycle synchronization of donor cells using either in vivo or in vitro matured oocytes. Furthermore, by utilizing a stepwise vitrification method, we showed that it is possible to cryopreserve cloned feline blastocysts.
We previously reported that growth hormone (GH) pulses were negatively associated with neuropeptide Y (NPY) profiles in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of the third ventricle of Shiba goats. In addition, while most GH pulses were coincident with GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) pulses, there was no correlation between GH and somatostatin (SRIF) levels. The present study was performed to elucidate the relationship between GH pulses and these neuropeptide levels in CSF when estradiol (1.0 mg/head) was subcutaneously administered to ovariectomized goats. CSF and plasma samples were collected every 15 min for 18 h (from 6 h before to 12 h after injection). GH levels in peripheral blood and GHRH, SRIF and NPY levels in CSF were measured by radioimmunoassay. Pulse/trough characteristics and correlations were assessed by the ULTRA algorithm and cross-correlation analysis. Before estradiol was injected, significant coincidence was found between GHRH pulses and GH pulses, and negative coincidence was found between NPY troughs and GH pulses. Six to 12 h after estradiol injection, the amplitude and area under the curve (AUC) of the GH pulses were markedly increased. The duration and AUC of the GHRH pulses in the CSF were also increased, and stronger synchrony of GHRH with GH was observed. In contrast, the baseline of NPY was significantly decreased, and the negative correlation between the GH pulses and NPY troughs disappeared. The parameters of SRIF troughs were not clearly changed. These observations suggest that estrogen enhances the pattern of secretion of GH in the goat via enhancement of GHRH pulses and decrease of NPY levels.
Stem cells of the side population (SP) phenotype are found in many self-renewing tissues and can be identified by their unique ability to effectively exclude the dye Hoechst 33342. We previously established a method for expanding spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) in vitro, but the frequency of SSCs is only about 1 to 2%, limiting detailed SSC analyses. In this study, we sought to isolate SSCs from in vitro cultures by exploiting their ability to exclude Hoechst 33342. In contrast to the findings of previous in vivo studies, we found that SP cells developed in a stochastic manner in vitro. Moreover, SP cells in culture were not enriched in SSCs, but they were interconvertible with non-SP cells. Although SP cells were consistently found in testes after transplantation of cultured cells, they were not enriched in SSCs. These results show that SSCs have an unstable SP phenotype and provide evidence that SSCs change their phenotype characteristics in response to their microenvironment.
Experimental autoimmune orchitis (EAO) is one of the models of immunological male infertility. Murine EAO is CD4+T cell-dependent and classically induced by immunization with a testicular homogenate and adjuvants. We previously established that immunization with viable syngeneic testicular germ cells (TGC) can also induce murine EAO with no use of any adjuvant. Analyses of this EAO model have already revealed that cultured spleen cells of immunized mice secreted interferon (IFN)-γ and that treatment of the immunized mice with anti-IFN-γ monoclonal antibodies significantly suppressed the EAO. It is known that both IFN-γ and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α are representative cytokines of Th1 cells and exhibit local toxicity toward the seminiferous epithelium in vivo. However, changes in these two cytokines in EAO-affected testes have not yet been investigated. Therefore, in the present study, we investigated the expression of intratesticular IFN-γ and TNF- α mRNAs in TGC-induced EAO using real-time RT-PCR. The results demonstrated that the intratesticular mRNAs for both IFN-γ and TNF-α significantly increased, while other cytokines such as IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6 and TGF-β did not show dramatic changes in the immunized mice. These results suggest that secretion of significant amounts of IFN-γ and TNF-α in situ contributes to the spermatogenic disturbance in EAO.
Zearalenone (ZEN) and its metabolites are important nonsteroidal estrogenic mycotoxins that cause reproductive disorders in domestic animals, especially pigs. We aimed to simultaneously detect ZEN and its metabolites á-zearalenol (α-ZOL) and β-zearalenol (β-ZOL) in porcine follicular fluid (FF) by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. ZEN and α-ZOL, but not β-ZOL, were detected in all pooled FF samples collected from coexisting follicles (diameter ≥ 6 mm) within 10 ovaries. Furthermore, ZEN and α-ZOL were detected in samples pretreated with β-glucuronidase/arylsulfatase, but not in those left untreated, suggesting that the FF samples contained glucuronide-conjugated forms of the mycotoxins that may be less harmful to porcine oocytes due to glucuronidation affecting the receptor binding. Nonetheless, the effects of the glucuronide-conjugated forms should be studied, both in vitro and in vivo.
The aim of the present study was to examine the feasibility of fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) for detecting a chromosome 1-specific sequence as a means of assessing the ploidy of porcine parthenotes. In vitro-matured oocytes with the first polar body (PB) were electrically activated; some were treated with cytochalasin B to prevent second PB extrusion (1PB embryos), and the others extruded the second PB (2PB embryos). At the 2-cell stage, one and two FISH signals were detected in each nucleus of 2PB and 1PB embryos, respectively. Almost all cells of blastocysts derived from 1PB embryos retained two signals. In contrast, cells of blastocysts derived from 2PB embryos had two signals. These data demonstrate that FISH analysis allows precise ploidy assessment of porcine parthenogenetic embryos, hence providing a practical means of detecting ploidy transition during parthenogenetic embryogenesis.
The aim of the present study was to clarify the overall efficiency of porcine somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) by incorporating cryopreservation of the cloned embryos before transfer. The SCNT embryos reconstructed with preadipocytes and in vitro-matured (IVM) oocytes were cultured to harvest morula stage embryos; they were then subjected to delipation (removal of cytoplasmic lipid droplets) and vitrification. After warming and culture, the embryos developing to blastocysts were transferred to recipients to obtain cloned piglets. From 372 reconstructed embryos, 188 (50.5%) reached the morula stage and 117 (31.5%) developed to blastocysts after vitrification. Transfer of 98 (26.3%) morphologically normal blastocysts gave rise to 6 (1.6%) piglets, including 1 stillborn. The efficiency of the cloned piglet production was comparable with that obtained using SCNT embryos without cryopreservation (2.7%, 17/635). Here, we demonstrate that porcine somatic cell cloning can be performed without a significant reduction in efficiency even when the SCNT embryos are cryopreserved before transfer.
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