The transcription factors GATA-4 and GATA-6, members of the GATA family, play an important role in ovarian cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. In this study, the full-length coding sequences of goose GATA-4 and GATA-6 were cloned and characterized. GATA-4 and GATA-6 consist of 1236 and 1104 nucleotides encoding proteins with 411 and 367 amino acids, respectively. The deduced amino acid sequences of both proteins include two adjacent zinc finger domains with the distinctive form (CVNC-X17-CNAC)-X29-(CANC-X17-CNAC) and share 84.76% identity within this domain. In silico prediction together with matching of the high affinity RRXS(T)Y motif revealed that the GATA-4 protein might be phosphorylated predominantly at S233, but no phosphorylation site was found in the GATA-6 protein. Real-time quantitative PCR analysis showed that GATA-4 and GATA-6 mRNAs were co-expressed in goose follicles, moderately expressed in granulosa cells and weakly expressed in theca cells. The expression level of GATA-4 mRNA in healthy follicles was significantly higher than in atretic follicles or postovulatory follicles (P<0.01), and the expression level of GATA-6 mRNA in healthy follicles was significantly lower than in atretic follicles or postovulatory follicles (P<0.01). The expression level of GATA-4 mRNA in granulosa cells was downregulated during follicle development; the peak of expression occurred in the 8-10 mm follicles, and the lowest expression was in the F1 follicles. GATA-6 was upregulated and reached its peak expression in the F1 follicles. These results indicate that the molecular structural differences in goose GATA-4 and GATA-6 may be related to their different roles during follicle development.
The aim of the present study was to address the effect of resveratrol-mediated upregulation of sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) during oocyte maturation on mitochondrial function, the developmental ability of oocytes and on mechanisms responsible for blockage of polyspermic fertilization. Oocytes collected from slaughterhouse-derived ovaries were cultured in TCM-199 medium supplemented with 10% FCS and 0 or 20 µM resveratrol (Res). We examined the effect of Res on SIRT1 expression in in vitro-matured oocytes (Exp 1); fertilization and developmental ability (Exp 2); mitochondrial DNA copy number (Mt number), ATP content and mitochondrial membrane potential in matured oocytes (Exp 3); and the time required for proteinase to dissolve the zona pellucida following in vitro fertilization (as a marker of zona pellucida hardening), as well as on the distribution of cortical granules before and after fertilization (Exp 4). In Exp 1, the 20 µM Res treatment upregulated protein expression of SIRT1 in oocytes. In Exp 2, Res treatment improved the ratio of normal fertilization and the total cell number of blastocysts. In Exp 3, Res treatment significantly increased the ATP content in matured oocytes. Additionally, Res increased the overall Mt number and mitochondrial membrane potential, but the effect was donor-dependent. In Exp 4, Res-induced zona hardening improved the distribution and exocytosis of cortical granules after in vitro fertilization. In conclusion, Res improved the quality of oocytes by improving mitochondrial quantity and quality. In addition, Res added to the maturation medium enhanced SIRT1 protein expression in oocytes and improved fertilization via reinforcement of the mechanisms responsible for blockage of polyspermic fertilization.
The objective of this study was to examine the health and meat production of cloned sows and their progenies in order to demonstrate the application of somatic cell cloning to the pig industry. This study compared the growth, reproductive performance, carcass characteristics and meat quality of Landrace cloned sows, F1 progenies and F2 progenies. We measured their body weight, growth rate and feed conversion and performed a pathological analysis of their anatomy to detect abnormalities. Three of the five cloned pigs were used for a growth test. Cloned pigs grew normally and had characteristics similar to those of the control purebred Landrace pigs. Two cloned gilts were bred with a Landrace boar and used for a progeny test. F1 progenies had characteristics similar to those of the controls. Two of the F1 progeny gilts were bred with a Duroc or Large White boar and used for the progeny test. F2 progenies grew normally. There were no biological differences in growth, carcass characteristics and amino acid composition among cloned sows, F1 progenies, F2 progenies and conventional pigs. The cloned sows and F1 progenies showed normal reproductive performance. No specific abnormalities were observed by pathological analysis, with the exception of periarteritis in the F1 progenies. All pigs had a normal karyotype. These results demonstrate that cloned female pigs and their progenies have similar growth, reproductive performance and carcass quality characteristics and that somatic cell cloning could be a useful technique for conserving superior pig breeds in conventional meat production.
Lactating Holstein-Friesian cows kept in tie-stall barn were used as subjects in this study. Rectal examination, ultrasonography and blood sampling were conducted every other day and then daily after the day on which diameter of the corpus luteum decreased. After the luteal diameter decreased for 2 consecutive days, rectal and ultrasound examinations, blood sampling, and observation of estrous signs were conducted at 6-h intervals. Most of the estrous signs became obvious with the increase in estradiol-17β (E2) and became most remarkable 24 to 30 hours before ovulation, at which point the E2 peak and luteinizing hormone (LH) surge were achieved, and then weakened which progression to ovulation. The correlation between the intensity of four estrous signs (hyperemia and swelling of the intravaginal part of the uterus, opening of the external uterine orifice and viscosity of the cervical mucus) and the plasma E2 concentration was higher than that of three estrous signs (swelling of the vulva, contraction of the uterus, diameter of uterine horn) and the plasma E2 concentration. The relaxation of the intravaginal part of the uterus showed a unique change compared with the other estrous signs, and it became most obvious 6, 12 and 18 h before ovulation; this obviously relaxed period was consistent with the generally accepted theoretical optimal time for artificial insemination (AI), i.e., 6 to 24 h after initiation of estrus. These results suggest that observation of estrous signs by vaginoscopic examination gave useful information for detection of the optimal timing of AI in the periovulatory period in lactating dairy cows kept in a tie-stall barn.
This study was performed to investigate the protective and therapeutic effects of resveratrol (RES) against CdCl2-induced toxicity in rat testes. Seven experimental groups of adult male rats were formulated as follows: A) controls+NS, B) control+vehicle (saline solution of hydroxypropyl cyclodextrin), C) RES treated, D) CdCl2+NS, E) CdCl2+vehicle, F) RES followed by CdCl2 and M) CdCl2 followed by RES. At the end of the protocol, serum levels of FSH, LH and testosterone were measured in all groups, and testicular levels of TBARS and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity were measured. Epididymal semen analysis was performed, and testicular expression of Bcl-2, p53 and Bax was assessed by RT-PCR. Also, histopathological changes of the testes were examined microscopically. Administration of RES before or after cadmium chloride in rats improved semen parameters including count, motility, daily sperm production and morphology, increased serum concentrations of gonadotropins and testosterone, decreased testicular lipid peroxidation and increased SOD activity. RES not only attenuated cadmium chloride-induced testicular histopathology but was also able to protect against the onset of cadmium chloride testicular toxicity. Cadmium chloride downregulated the anti-apoptotic gene Bcl2 and upregulated the expression of pro-apoptotic genes p53 and Bax. Resveratrol protected against and partially reversed cadmium chloride testicular toxicity via upregulation of Bcl2 and downregulation of p53 and Bax gene expression. The antioxidant activity of RES protects against cadmium chloride testicular toxicity and partially reverses its effect via upregulation of BCl2 and downregulation of p53 and Bax expression.
ATP is critical for oocyte maturation, fertilization, and subsequent embryo development. Both mitochondrial membrane potential and copy number expand during oocyte maturation. In order to differentiate the roles of mitochondrial metabolic activity and mtDNA copy number during oocyte maturation, we used two inhibitors, FCCP (carbonyl cyanide p-(tri-fluromethoxy)phenyl-hydrazone) and ddC (2’3-dideoxycytidine), to deplete the mitochondrial membrane potential (Δφm) and mitochondrial copy number, respectively. FCCP (2000 nM) reduced ATP production by affecting mitochondrial Δφm, decreased the mRNA expression of Bmp15 (bone morphogenetic protein 15), and shortened the poly(A) tails of Bmp15, Gdf9 (growth differentiation factor 9), and Cyclin B1 transcripts. FCCP (200 and 2000 nM) also affected p34cdc2 kinase activity. By contrast, ddC did not alter ATP production. Instead, ddC significantly decreased mtDNA copy number (P < 0.05). FCCP (200 and 2000 nM) also decreased extrusion of the first polar body, whereas ddC at all concentrations did not affect the ability of immature oocytes to reach metaphase II. Both FCCP (200 and 2000 nM) and ddC (200 and 2000 µM) reduced parthenogenetic blastocyst formation compared with untreated oocytes. However, these inhibitors did not affect total cell number and apoptosis. These findings suggest that mitochondrial metabolic activity is critical for oocyte maturation and that both mitochondrial metabolic activity and replication contribute to the developmental competence of porcine oocytes.
The objective of this research was to clarify the aging-related changes in in vitro-matured bovine oocytes. Firstly, we examined the fertilization and embryonic development of bovine oocytes after 22 and 30–34 h of in vitro maturation (IVM). The oocytes after 30–34 h of IVM (penetrated by sperm at around 40 h after starting IVM) showed a lower developmental rate to blastocysts (P<0.01), although normal fertilization rates were similar regardless of IVM duration. In the next experiment, reactive oxygen species (ROS), mitochondrial activity and ATP content in oocytes after 20, 30 and 40 h of IVM were examined. The lowest level of ROS was found in the group subjected to 30 h of IVM. The mitochondrial activity and ATP content in the group subjected to 40 h of IVM were higher than in the group subjected to 20 h of IVM (P<0.01), and those in the group subjected to 30 h of IVM showed intermediate values. Thereafter, the mitochondrial activities at 3 days after in vitro fertilization in embryos derived from the oocytes subjected to 22 and 34 h of IVM were evaluated. In the group subjected to 34 h of IVM, high-polarized mitochondria were frequently observed at the periphery of blastomeres. The present results suggest that high mitochondrial activity observed in oocytes after prolonged IVM culture and localization of high-polarized mitochondria at the periphery of blastomeres during early embryonic development may be associated with the low developmental competence in aged bovine oocytes.
Egg yolk (EY) and glycerol are common constituents of extenders used for sperm cryopreservation. It has been demonstrated that using cholesterol-loaded cyclodextrins (CLC) improves sperm cryosurvival in several species. However, standard freezing extenders might not be the most appropriate for CLC-treated sperm. This study evaluated the EY and glycerol requirements for freezing CLC-treated boar spermatozoa. Semen samples from 34 ejaculates coming from 4 boars were used. Each ejaculate was split into three aliquots: one was used untreated (control), and the other two were treated with 1 mg of CLC or methyl-β-cyclodextrin/120 × 106 sperm for 15 min at 22 C prior to cryopreservation. Our results indicated that reducing the concentration of EY was detrimental for sperm viability after thawing (31.57 ± 2 vs. 19.89% ± 2 for 20 and 10% EY, respectively; P <0.05), even in semen treated with CLC. On the other hand, it was observed that the traditional concentration of glycerol (3%) was not the appropriate for freezing CLC-treated sperm (61.10 ± 3 vs. 47.87% ± 3 viable sperm for control and CLC-treated sperm, respectively; P <0.05). Thus, CLC-treated sperm showed a higher tolerance to high glycerol concentrations (5%) in terms of sperm viability (59.19% ± 3) than non-treated sperm (45.58% ± 3; P<0.05). Therefore, it could be necessary to modify the freezing extenders for CLC-treated sperm. Nevertheless, additional studies will be needed to evaluate alternative cryoprotectants and to determine the effect of high glycerol concentrations on sperm functionality.
Regression of the corpus luteum (CL) is characterized by a decay in progesterone (P4) production (functional luteolysis) and disappearance of luteal tissues (structural luteolysis). In mares, structural luteolysis is thought to be caused by apoptosis of luteal cells, but functional luteolysis is poorly understood. 20α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (20α-HSD) catabolizes P4 into its biologically inactive form, 20α-hydroxyprogesterone (20α-OHP). In mares, aldo-keto reductase (AKR) 1C23, which is a member of the AKR superfamily, has 20α-HSD activity. To clarify whether AKR1C23 is associated with functional luteolysis in mares, we investigated the expression of AKR1C23 in the CL in different luteal phases. The luteal P4 concentration and levels of 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD) mRNA were higher in the mid luteal phase than in the late and regressed luteal phases (P<0.05), but the level of 3β-HSD protein was higher in the late luteal phase than in the regressed luteal phase (P<0.05). The luteal 20α-OHP concentration and the level of AKR1C23 mRNA were higher in the late luteal phase than in the early and mid luteal phases (P<0.05), and the level of AKR1C23 protein was also highest in the late luteal phase. Taken together, these findings suggest that metabolism of P4 by AKR1C23 is one of the processes contributing to functional luteolysis in mares.
The raccoon is a seasonal breeder with a mating season in the winter. In a previous study, adult male raccoons exhibited active spermatogenesis with high plasma testosterone concentrations, in the winter mating season. Maintenance of spermatogenesis generally requires high testosterone, which is produced by steroidogenic enzymes. However, even in the summer non-mating season, some males produce spermatozoa actively despite low plasma testosterone concentrations. To identify the factors that regulate testosterone production and contribute to differences in spermatogenetic activity in the summer non-mating season, morphological, histological and endocrinological changes in the testes of wild male raccoons should be known. In this study, to assess changes in the biosynthesis, metabolism and reactivity of testosterone, the localization and immunohistochemical staining intensity of four steroidogenic enzymes (P450scc, P450c17, 3βHSD, P450arom) and the androgen receptor (AR) were investigated using immunohistochemical methods. P450scc and P450c17 were detected in testicular tissue throughout the year. Seasonal changes in testosterone concentration were correlated with 3βHSD expression, suggesting that 3βHSD may be important in regulating the seasonality of testosterone production in raccoon testes. Immunostaining of P450arom and AR was detected in testicular tissues that exhibited active spermatogenesis in the summer, while staining was scarce in aspermatogenic testes. This suggests that spermatogenesis in the raccoon testis might be maintained by some mechanism that regulates P450arom expression in synthesizing estradiol and AR expression in controlling reactivity to testosterone.
The aim of the present study was to determine the relationship of progesterone (P4), bovine pregnancy-associated glycoprotein-1 (bPAG-1) and nitric oxide (NO) levels with late embryonic (LEM; day 28 to day 42) and early fetal mortalities (EFM; > day 42 to day 56) in dairy cows. Transrectal ultrasonography (6–8 MHz) was performed in 100 Holstein-Friesian cows at days 28, 42 and 56 after artificial insemination (AI; day 0) to diagnose pregnancy and to monitor the fate of the embryo. After ultrasound scanning of each cow, a milk sample was collected for assessment of P4 by an ELISA test and a blood sample was collected for assessment of bPAG-1, by using a double-antibody radioimmunoassay, and serum NO metabolites (nitrate + nitrite). Based on ultrasonographic examinations and bPAG-1-RIA, 41 of 100 inseminated cows were confirmed pregnant at day 28 after AI. Nine cows suffered of LEM, and 6 cows suffered of EFM and the overall pregnancy loss rate was 36.6% (15/41) between days 28 and 56 of pregnancy. By logistic regression analysis, there were no significant relationships between the level of P4 and bPAG-1 at day 28 after AI and the occurrence of LEM and EFM. Also, there were no significant relationships between the levels of P4 and bPAG-1 at day 42 and the occurrence of EFM. On the other hand, a significant relationship (P<0.05) was found between NO level at day 28 and the occurrence of LEM. In conclusion, measurement of the serum NO concentration at day 28 of pregnancy might help to predict the outcome of pregnancy by day 42 in dairy cows but further studies are needed to confirm this.
Sperm cryopreservation has been widely adopted for maintenance of the genetically engineered mouse (GEM). The cryopreserved sperm are being exchanged among many institutes worldwide. However, the recipients are not always able to obtain high fertilization rates with the frozen sperm shipped from senders. In this study, we cryopreserved mouse sperm via various methods and performed in vitro fertilization (IVF) in which the combination of methyl-beta-cyclodextrin for sperm preincubation and reduced glutathione for insemination was used (the MBCD-GSH IVF). In addition, frozen sperm sent from the Jackson Laboratory (USA) were thawed and used for IVF in the same manner. The fertilization rates of both the sperm cryopreserved via the methods applied in some countries and the cryopreserved GEM sperm improved when used with the MBCD-GSH IVF method. Therefore, we strongly believe that the MBCD-GSH IVF method brings about relatively high fertilization rates with any strain of frozen mouse sperm.