Utilizing 3D structured illumination microscopy, we investigated the quality and quantity of nuclear invaginations and the distribution of nuclear pores during rabbit early embryonic development and identified the exact time point of nucleoporin 153 (NUP153) association with chromatin during mitosis. Contrary to bovine early embryonic nuclei, featuring almost exclusively nuclear invaginations containing a small volume of cytoplasm, nuclei in rabbit early embryonic stages show additionally numerous invaginations containing a large volume of cytoplasm. Small-volume invaginations frequently emanated from large-volume nuclear invaginations but not vice versa, indicating a different underlying mechanism. Large- and small-volume nuclear envelope invaginations required the presence of chromatin, as they were restricted to chromatin-positive areas. The chromatin-free contact areas between nucleolar precursor bodies (NPBs) and large-volume invaginations were free of nuclear pores. Small-volume invaginations were not in contact with NPBs. The number of invaginations and isolated intranuclear vesicles per nucleus peaked at the 4-cell stage. At this stage, the nuclear surface showed highly concentrated clusters of nuclear pores surrounded by areas free of nuclear pores. Isolated intranuclear lamina vesicles were usually NUP153 negative. Cytoplasmic, randomly distributed NUP153-positive clusters were highly abundant at the zygote stage and decreased in number until they were almost absent at the 8-cell stage and later. These large NUP153 clusters may represent a maternally provided NUP153 deposit, but they were not visible as clusters during mitosis. Major genome activation at the 8- to 16-cell stage may mark the switch from a necessity for a deposit to on-demand production. NUP153 association with chromatin is initiated during metaphase before the initiation of the regeneration of the lamina. To our knowledge, the present study demonstrates for the first time major remodeling of the nuclear envelope and its underlying lamina during rabbit preimplantation development.
C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) plays a role as an oocyte maturation inhibitor (OMI) in many species, including the bovine. However, the effects of luteinizing hormone (LH) on CNP expression and its potential mechanisms have not reported in the bovine. In the present study, we aimed to study the effects of LH on CNP expression and to illuminate the potential molecular mechanism in this process. Our results showed that LH induced epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) phosphorylation, mitogen-activated protein kinase3/1 (MAPK3/1) activation and CNP mRNA decrease in cultured bovine granulosa cells. Further study revealed that LH suppressed CNP expression via the MAPK3/1 signaling pathway, which was activated by the EGFR pathway. In conclusion, our research suggested that MAPK3/1 is involved in LH-mediated decrease of CNP and that this process is related to the EGFR and MAPK3/1 signal pathways.
An in vitro culture system of chicken primordial germ cells (PGCs) has been recently developed, but the growth factor involved in the proliferation of PGCs is largely unknown. In the present study, we investigated the growth effects of chicken stem cell factor (chSCF) on the in vitro proliferation of chicken PGCs. We established two feeder cell lines (buffalo rat liver cells; BRL cells) that stably express the putative secreted form of chSCF (chSCF1-BRL) and membrane bound form of chSCF (chSCF2-BRL). Cultured PGC lines were incubated on chSCF1 or chSCF2-BRL feeder cells with fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2), and growth effects of each chSCF isoform were investigated. The in vitro proliferation rate of the PGCs cultured on chSCF2-BRL at 20 days of culture was more than threefold higher than those cultured on chSCF1-BRL cells and more than fivefold higher than those cultured on normal BRL cells. Thus, use of chSCF2-BRL feeder layer was effective for in vitro proliferation of chicken PGCs. However, the acceleration of PGC proliferation on chSCF2-BRL was not observed without FGF2, suggesting that chSCF2 would act as a proliferation co-factor of FGF2. We transferred the PGCs cultured on chSCF2-BRL cells to recipient embryos, generated germline chimeric chickens and assessed the germline competency of cultured PGCs by progeny test. Donor-derived progenies were obtained, and the frequency of germline transmission was 3.39%. The results of this study demonstrate that chSCF2 induces hyperproliferation of chicken PGCs retaining germline competency in vitro in cooperation with FGF2.
The oviduct is an active contractile tube that provides the proper environment for sperm transport, capacitation and survival. Oviductal contractions are regulated by autocrine/paracrine secretion of several factors, such as prostaglandins (PGs) and endothelin-1 (EDN-1). We have previously shown that during the preovulatory stage, sperm are exposed to polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) in the bovine oviduct, and the bovine oviduct epithelial cells (BOECs) secrete molecules including PGE2 that suppress sperm phagocytosis by PMNs in vitro. In this study, we investigated the possible effects of EDN-1 on the phagocytic activity of PMNs toward sperm. The local concentrations of EDN-1 in oviduct fluid and BOEC culture medium ranged from 10–10 to 10–11 M as determined by EIA. Phagocytosis and superoxide production were assayed by co-incubation of sperm pretreated to induce capacitation with PMNs exposed to EDN-1 (0, 10–11, 10–10, 10–9, and 10–8 M) for 2 h. EDN-1 suppressed dose dependently (10–11 to 10–8 M) the phagocytic activity for sperm and superoxide production of PMNs in response to capacitated sperm. Moreover, this suppression was eliminated by an ETB receptor antagonist (BQ-788). EDN-1 suppressed mRNA expression of EDN-1 and ETB but not ETA receptors in PMNs, suggesting the ETB receptor-mediated pathway. Scanning electron microscopic observation revealed that incubation of PMNs with EDN-1 (10–9 M) completely suppressed the formation of DNA-based neutrophil extracellular traps for sperm entanglement. The results provide evidence indicating that EDN-1 may be involved in the protection of sperm from phagocytosis by PMNs in the bovine oviduct, supporting sperm survival until fertilization.
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response has been implicated in the development, atresia and luteinization of ovarian follicles. However, there have been few reports concerning the role of Herp, an ER stress-induced protein, in follicular development. The present study aims to detect the distribution and cyclic variations of Herp during the estrous cycle and to reveal the roles of Herp in regulating the cell cycle, apoptosis and steroid hormone biosynthesis in mouse granulosa cells. In this study, immunohistochemistry staining showed that Herp expression was primarily in the granulosa cells and oocytes. Furthermore, we constructed recombinant lentiviral vectors for Herp short hairpin interfering RNA (shRNA) expression; immunofluorescence staining, real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) and western blot analysis revealed that Herp was successfully knocked down. Flow cytometry showed that knockdown of Herp arrested granulosa cells at the S phase of the cell cycle. More importantly, ELISA analysis revealed that Herp knockdown significantly upregulated the concentration of estradiol (E2) in the culture supernatants. RT-qPCR was performed to determine the regulatory mechanism of Herp knockdown in the cell cycle, and in steroid synthesis, RT-qPCR analysis revealed that Herp knockdown upregulated the mRNA expression of steroidogenic enzymes (Cyp19a1) and downregulated metabolic enzymes (Cyp1b1) and cell cycle factors (cyclin A1, cyclin B1 and cyclin D2). These results suggest that Herp may regulate the cell cycle and hormone secretions in mouse granulosa cells. The present study helps to elucidate the physiological functions of Herp as they relate to reproduction.
Because the diploid human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) can be successfully derived from tripronuclear zygotes thus, they can serve as an alternative source of derivation of normal karyotype hESC lines. The aim of the present study was to compare the pluripotency and trophoblast differentiation ability of hESCs derived from tripronuclear zygotes and diploid hESCs. In the present study, a total of 20 tripronuclear zygotes were cultured; 8 zygotes developed to the blastocyst stage and 1 hESC line was generated. Unlike the previous studies, chromosomal correction of tripronuclear zygotes during derivation of hESCs did not occur. The established line carries 3 sets of chromosomes and showed a numerical aberration. Although the cell line displayed an abnormal chromosome number, it was found the cell line has been shown to be pluripotent with the ability to differentiate into 3 embryonic germ layers both in vitro and in vivo. The expression of X inactive specific transcript (XIST) in mid-passage (passage 42) of undifferentiated triploid hESCs was detected, indicating X chromosome inactivation of the cell line. Moreover, when this cell line was induced to differentiate toward the trophoblast lineage, morphological and functional trophoblast cells were observed, similar to the diploid hESC line.
The ultrastructure of porcine putative embryonic stem cells and porcine fetal fibroblasts (PFFs) was analyzed by transmission electron microscopy. The aim of this study was to compare the features of organelles in in vitro fertilization (IVF) derived porcine embryonic stem cells (IVF-pESCs) and somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) derived pESCs (SCNT-pESCs). Also, the features of organelles in high-passage IVF-pESCs were compared with those in low-passage cells. The ultrastructure of PFFs showed rare microvilli on the cell surfaces, polygonal or irregular nuclei with one to two reticular-shaped nucleoli and euchromatin, low cytoplasm-to-nucleus ratios, rare ribosomes, rare rough endoplasmic reticulum, elongated mitochondria, rich lysosomes and rich phagocytic vacuoles. IVF-pESCs showed rare microvilli on the cell surfaces, round or irregular nuclei with one to two reticular-shaped nucleoli and euchromatin, low cytoplasm-to-nucleus ratios, rich ribosomes, long stacks of rough endoplasmic reticulum, elongated mitochondria, rare lysosomes and rare autophagic vacuoles. By contrast, SCNT-pESCs showed rich microvilli with various lengths and frequencies on the cell surfaces, polygonal nuclei with one reticular shaped nucleoli and heterochromatin, high cytoplasm-to-nucleus ratios, rare ribosomes, rare rough endoplasmic reticulum, round mitochondria, rich lysosomes and rich phagocytic vacuoles with clear intercellular junctions. Furthermore, high-passage IVF-pESCs showed irregularly shaped colonies, pyknosis and numerous lysosomes associated with autophagic vacuoles showing signs of apoptosis. In conclusion, this study confirms that the ultrastructural characteristics of pESCs differ depending on their origin. These ultrastructural characteristics might be useful in biomedical research using pESCs, leading to new insights regarding regenerative medicine and tissue repair.
Contraction during the blastocyst stage is observed during embryonic development of various mammals, including humans, but the physiological role of this process is not well understood. Using time-lapse monitoring (TLM), we studied the influence of vitrification and contractions on embryonic development in mice. Mouse embryos were cultured at the 2-cell stage. At the 8-cell stage, embryos were randomly divided into a fresh group (FG) and vitrified group (VG) and observed for up to 144 h. Strong contractions (i.e., contractions causing a decrease in volume of more than 20% and expansion of the perivitelline space) occurred significantly more often in unhatched embryos than hatching embryos in both groups. Regarding hatching embryos, contractions in the pre-hatching stage were significantly more frequent in the VG than the FG. Furthermore, mRNA expression levels of genes related to contractions were determined at three time points, the 8-cell stage, early blastocyst stage, and 20 h after blastocoel formation, with quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. There was no significant difference in Hspa1a expression between the FG and VG, but Hspa1a overexpression was observed just after thawing and tended to decrease gradually thereafter in some blastocysts. Furthermore, in the VG, Atp1a1 tended to show higher expression in the strong contraction group than in the weak contraction group. Overall, vitrification is an excellent method for cryopreservation but could increase contractions in the pre-hatching stage and may increase energy demands of the embryo. Observation of contraction by TLM may improve the evaluation of embryo quality.
Here, we assessed the effects of long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) and the LCFA receptor agonist GW9508 on the transcription of the gonadotropin subunit genes Cga, Lhb and Fshb because LCFA receptor GPR120 was observed in mouse gonadotropes in our recent study. A transcription assay using LβT2 cells demonstrated that LCFAs, oleic acid, α-linolenic acid, docosahexaenoic acid and palmitate, repressed the expression of Cga, Lhb, and Fshb at concentrations between 50 and 100 µM. On the other hand, treatment with 10 µM unsaturated LCFAs, oleic acid, α-linolenic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, repressed only Fshb expression, while the same dose of a saturated LCFA, palmitate, had no effect on the expression of gonadotropin subunit genes. Furthermore, GW9508 did not affect promoter activity. Next, we examined deletion mutants of the upstream region of Fshb and found that the upstream regulatory region (-2824 to -2343 bp) of Fshb was responsible for the notable repression by 10 µM unsaturated LCFAs. Our results suggest that the upstream region of Fshb is susceptible to unsaturated LCFAs. In addition, unsaturated LCFAs play a role in repressing Fshb expression through the distal -2824 to -2343 bp region, which might be independent of the LCFA receptor GPR120 pathway.
Recently, weak estrous behavior was assumed to be the cause of a decline in breeding efficiency in cattle. The present study investigated the effect of measuring the vaginal temperature on the detection of estrus in Japanese Black cows. First, the effect of hormone administration to cows with a functional corpus luteum on the vaginal temperature was evaluated by continuous measurement using a temperature data logger. After 24 h of cloprostenol (PG) treatment, the vaginal temperature was significantly lower than on day 7 after estrus, and the low values were maintained until the beginning of estrus (P < 0.05). The cows that received PG and exogenous progesterone (CIDR) did not show a temperature decrease until the CIDR was removed. This finding suggested that the vaginal temperature change reflected the progesterone concentration. The rate of detection of natural estrus was lower for a pedometer than for the vaginal temperature (P < 0.05); synchronization of estrus resulted in a high estrus detection rate regardless of the detection method. In a subsequent experiment, the effect of vaginal temperature measurement and the use of a pedometer on estrus detection was evaluated in the cool and hot seasons. The average activities during non-estrus and the activity increase ratio (estrus/non-estrus) changed according to season (P < 0.01, P < 0.05). However, the average vaginal temperatures during estrus and non-estrus were not affected by season. The estrus detection rate of the pedometer was lower in summer and lower than that obtained using the vaginal temperature. These results indicated that vaginal temperature measurement might be effective for detecting estrus regardless of estrous behavior.
The antioxidant effect of N, N-dimethylglycine (DMG) on in vitro-produced (IVP) bovine embryos was examined. After in vitro fertilization, presumptive zygotes were cultured with or without 0.1 μM DMG under different oxygen tensions. The percentage of embryos developing to the blastocyst stage was lowest under a 20% oxygen concentration without DMG, and it was significantly increased (P < 0.05) by applying a 5% oxygen concentration. Under the 20% oxygen concentration, supplementation of the medium with DMG significantly improved blastocyst development, which was nearly equal to that achieved under 5% oxygen without DMG. Furthermore, a tendentious increase (P = 0.06) in blastocyst cell numbers was observed when DMG was applied. In the second experiment, addition of H2O2 (0.5 mM) to the culture medium significantly (P < 0.01) reduced the percentage of embryos developing to the blastocyst stage. However, DMG supplementation prevented this reduction. In conclusion, DMG enhanced the invitro development of IVP bovine embryos by acting as an antioxidant.
We aimed to improve the efficiency of isolating endometrial epithelial and stromal cells (EMECs and EMSCs) from the human endometrium. We revealed by immunohistochemical staining that the large tissue fragments remaining after collagenase treatment, which are usually discarded after the first filtration in the conventional protocol, consisted of glandular epithelial and stromal cells. Therefore, we established protease treatment and cell suspension conditions to dissociate single cells from the tissue fragments and isolated epithelial (EPCAM-positive) and stromal (CD13-positive) cells by fluorescence-activated cell sorting. Four independent experiments showed that, on average, 1.2 × 106 of EMECs and 2.8 × 106 EMSCs were isolated from one hysterectomy specimen. We confirmed that the isolated cells presented transcriptomic features highly similar to those of epithelial and stromal cells obtained by the conventional method. Our improved protocol facilitates future studies to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the dynamic changes of the endometrium during the menstrual cycle.
A novel hollow fiber vitrification (HFV) method was applied to materials that have previously been difficult to cryopreserve, thereby expanding the potential application of this method. The results showed that zona-free porcine morulae and their isolated blastomeres remained viable even after vitrification. The rate of development to blastocysts after vitrification was similar for zona-free and zona-intact morulae (21/23, 91.3% for both). Vitrified blastomeres had a developmental potential equal to that of non-vitrified blastomeres (blastocyst formation rate after reaggregation: 16/17, 94.1% for both). The HFV method was also effective for the cryopreservation of in vitro matured/fertilized bovine embryos at the 2- to 4-cell, 8- to 16-cell and morula stages. The blastocyst formation rates of vitrified embryos (66.1–82.5%) were similar to those of non-vitrified embryos (74.5–82.5%). These results indicate that this novel HFV method is an effective tool for embryo cryopreservation that can enhance current practices in reproductive biology.