Journal of Reproduction and Development
Online ISSN : 1348-4400
Print ISSN : 0916-8818
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Showing 1-26 articles out of 26 articles from Advance online publication
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  • Shizuka MIZUMACHI, Taiki ARITOMI, Kuniaki SASAKI, Kazuei MATSUBARA, Yu ...
    Article ID: 2017-162
    [Advance publication] Released: February 16, 2018
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    Macromolecular crowded culture medium formed by addition of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP; molecular weight = 360 000), positively influences the viability, growth, and development of bovine oocytes. Owing to its apparently various effects, uncovering the specific mechanisms of crowding responsible for these outcomes is important. The present study was conducted to determine the effects of crowding on oocytes with a particular focus on the intimacy of contacts between oocyte and cumulus/granulosa cells. Growing mouse oocyte–granulosa cell complexes were cultured for 10 days in a modified α-minimum essential medium, supplemented with PVP at a concentration of 0%, 1%, 2%, or 3% (w/v). Although the complexes developed in all groups, 2% and 3% PVP medium induced a substantial morphological modification, and a larger proportion of oocytes associated with cumulus cells survived in 3% PVP medium than in the 0% or 1% PVP medium. No significant difference was found in the frequencies of polar body extrusion (78–88%) and blastocyst formation (approximately 40%) after in vitro fertilization among the experimental groups. Confocal laser scanning microscopy indicated a higher number of transzonal processes reaching the oocyte from cumulus cells in 2% PVP medium than in 0% PVP medium. Transmission electron microscopy depicted close adhesion of the oocyte with cumulus cells in 2% PVP medium —bearing a resemblance to their in vivo counterparts— and loose adhesion in 0% PVP medium. In conclusion, we found that a mechanism for the action of crowded conditions involves the strengthening of contacts and communication between oocytes and companion cumulus/granulosa cells.

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  • Shujuan GUO, Xing-Yu YAN, Feifei SHI, Ke MA, Zi-Jiang CHEN, Cong ZHANG
    Article ID: 2017-088
    [Advance publication] Released: February 15, 2018
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    The Snail gene family includes Snai1, Snai2, and Snai3 that encode zinc finger-containing transcriptional repressors in mammals. The expression and localization of SNAI1 and SNAI2 have been studied extensively during folliculogenesis, ovulation, luteinization, and embryogenesis in mice. However, the role of SNAI3 is unknown. In this study, we investigated the expression of SNAI3 during these processes. Our immunohistochemistry data showed that SNAI3 first appeared in oocytes by postnatal day (PD) 9. Following this, SNAI3 was found to be expressed consistently in theca and interstitial cells, along with oocytes. In gonadotropin-treated immature mice, the expression of SNAI3 did not change significantly during follicular development. The expression of SNAI3 was reduced during ovulation, after which it increased gradually during luteinization. Similar results were obtained from western blot analyses. Furthermore, real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analyses revealed varying mRNA levels of different Snail factors at a given time in gonadotropin-induced ovaries. During early embryo cleavage, SNAI3 was localized to the nucleus, except the nucleolus at the germinal vesicle and one-cell stages. From two- to eight-cell stages, SNAI3 was localized only to the nucleolus. Thereafter, SNAI3 was detected only in the cytoplasm, except during the blastocyst stage when it was localized to the nucleus of the trophectoderm and the inner cell mass. RT-PCR results showed that the expression of Snail superfamily genes was decreased during the blastocyst stage. From the eight-cell to morula stage, when compaction occurs that is a prerequisite for blastocyst formation, Snai3 mRNA was expressed at very low levels and was opposite to the highest expression level of the compaction-related gene, E-cadherin, at the eight-cell stage. Taken together, our results suggest that SNAI3 likely plays some roles during folliculogenesis, luteinization, and early embryonic development.

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  • Pasqualino LOI, Cesare GALLI, Giovanna LAZZARI, Kazutsugu MATSUKAWA, J ...
    Article ID: 2017-109
    [Advance publication] Released: February 15, 2018
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    Here we report in vitro and term development of sheep embryos after the inner cell mass (ICM) from one set of sheep blastocysts were injected into the trophoblast vesicles of another set. We also observed successful in vitro development of chimeric blastocysts made from sheep trophoblast vesicles injected with bovine ICM. First, we dissected ICMs from 35 sheep blastocysts using a stainless steel microblade and injected them into 29 re-expanded sheep trophoblastic vesicles. Of the 25 successfully micromanipulated trophoblastic vesicles, 15 (51.7%) re-expanded normally and showed proper ICM integration. The seven most well reconstructed embryos were transferred for development to term. Three ewes receiving manipulated blastocysts were pregnant at day 45 (42.8%), and all delivered normal offspring (singletons, two females and one male, average weight: 3.54 ± 0.358 kg). Next, we monitored in vitro development of sheep trophoblasts injected with bovine ICMs. Of 17 injected trophoblastic vesicles, 10 (58.8%) re-expanded after 4 h in culture, and four (40%) exhibited integrated bovine ICM. Our results indicate that ICM/trophoblast exchange is feasible, allowing full term development with satisfactory lambing rate. Therefore, ICM exchange is a promising approach for endangered species conservation.

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  • Hui PENG, Jianchao HUO, Yuyun GAO, Jing CHEN, Xiang YU, Tianfang XIAO
    Article ID: 2017-081
    [Advance publication] Released: February 09, 2018
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    Fas-associated protein factor 1 (FAF1) is a Fas-associated protein that functions in multiple cellular processes. Previous research showed that mutations in Faf1 led to the lethality of cleavage stage embryos in a mouse model. The aim of the present study was to analyze the expression pattern, localization, and function of FAF1 in meiotic resumption of mouse oocytes. FAF1 was exclusively expressed in oocytes at various follicular stages within the ovary and was predominantly localized in the cytoplasm of growing oocytes. Furthermore, Faf1 mRNA and protein were persistently present during oocyte maturation and Faf1 mRNA levels were similar in the germinal vesicle (GV), GV breakdown (GVBD), and metaphase II (MII) stages of oocytes. Moreover, knockdown of Faf1 in GV-stage oocytes led to a significantly decreased rate of GVBD. To our knowledge, these results provide the first evidence regarding a novel function of FAF1 in meiotic resumption in mouse oocytes.

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  • Tomochika SUGIURA, Shun AKIYOSHI, Fumihiro INOUE, Yojiro YANAGAWA, Mas ...
    Article ID: 2017-139
    [Advance publication] Released: February 03, 2018
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    The objective of this study was to investigate cyclical changes in endometrial thickness in relation to progesterone (P4) and estradiol-17β (E2) concentrations during natural and induced estrus in 15 cows. In the prostaglandin (PG) F-induced estrus group, ultrasonography (USG) at 6-h intervals was used to determine endometrial thickness 48–24 h before the PGF treatment until 24 h after ovulation (ovulation = Day 0). In the natural estrus group, USG was performed every 48 h from Day 3 to Days 15–18 after the first ovulation, and then every 6 h until 24 h after ovulation. Endometrial thickness was standardized using Day 13 as a reference day. Blood was collected during every USG examination and plasma P4 and E2 concentrations were determined. Endometrial thickness of the induced estrus group (n = 11) was greater than that of the natural estrus group (n = 9) between 60 and 12 h before ovulation (P < 0.05). In the natural estrus group, prior to an increase in endometrial thickness, a decrease in P4 and an increase in E2 were detected. In the induced estrus group, based on the time of ovulation, an increase in endometrial thickness was detected at the same time of a decrease in P4 before an increase in E2. These results suggest that decreases in P4 concentrations may be a cue to changes in endometrial thickness, while increases in E2 concentrations appear to sustain and/or enhance these changes.

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  • Shuntaro IKEDA, Miki SUGIMOTO, Shinichi KUME
    Article ID: 2017-137
    [Advance publication] Released: January 21, 2018
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    Bovine preimplantation embryos exhibit dramatic biological changes between before and after the 8-16-cell stage. Here we report a simple lipofection method to transfect siRNA into bovine 8-16-cell stage embryos using zona removal and the well-of-the-well (WOW) culture system. Bovine one-cell embryos produced in vitro were freed from the zona pellucida and cultured up to the 8-16-cell stage in WOW dishes. The 8-16-cell embryos were lipofected with siRNA and the transfection efficiency was assessed at 48 h of transfection. Lipofection with a red fluorescent non-targeting siRNA revealed the importance of zona removal for transfection of siRNA into embryos. Using this method, we knocked down the methionine adenosyltransferase 2A (MAT2A) gene, achieving a significant reduction in MAT2A expression (P < 0.05) concomitant with the marked inhibition of blastocyst development. Our proposed method, tentatively named ‘Octo-lipofection’, may be useful to analyze gene functions in bovine preimplantation embryos without expensive equipment and skill-intensive techniques.

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  • Noriko FUNASAKA, Motoi YOSHIOKA, Toshiaki ISHIBASHI, Toshiyuki TATSUKA ...
    Article ID: 2017-087
    [Advance publication] Released: January 19, 2018
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    We monitored annual fluctuations of gonadal steroid levels in three sexually mature captive finless porpoises (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis; two males and one female) from two different facilities over 56–91 months. Two animals (one male and one female) were held in an indoor tank with a sunroof (facility A) and the other male was held in an indoor tank without a sunroof (facility B). Water temperatures in both facilities reflected seasonal changes during the study period with a minor difference in the fluctuation pattern. Testosterone levels of the male in facility A were higher from spring to summer every year and exhibited a 12-month cycle. The female showed estrus cycles in 1-month intervals from summer to winter, excluding 2 anestrus years. In contrast, the period of higher testosterone levels of the male in facility B gradually initiated earlier over the years under a constant photoperiod (11.5L:12.5D) and exhibited a 9-month cycle during the first 52 months. After changing the light conditions to a natural photoperiod, its testosterone levels were high from early spring to summer for 3 consecutive years and exhibited a 12-month cycle. Our results showed that under a constant artificial photoperiod, the male in facility B failed to recognize the seasonal changes of a natural external environment, resulting in a 9-month, free-running hormone cycle.

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  • Kohta KIKUCHI, Keisuke KOZAI, Takuo HOJO, Miki SAKATANI, Kiyoshi OKUDA ...
    Article ID: 2017-128
    [Advance publication] Released: January 07, 2018
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    We investigated the electrical impedance of the reproductive tracts (vagina and uterine endometrial tissues) and the expression of mucus-related genes to identify the stage of the estrous cycle in mares. We first examined vaginal impedance in native Hokkaido mares during their estrous cycle and found no significant differences. However, impedance levels tended to decrease towards ovulation. Furthermore, we investigated the estrous cycle by measuring the electrical impedance of the uterine endometrial tissues obtained from carcasses of mares. We found that impedance levels in the endometrial tissues decreased in the regressed phase of the corpus luteum (CL). Expression of mucus-related genes (ATP1A1, CFTR, AQP3, and AQP5) also varied at different stages of the estrous cycle. Among them, AQP3 expression was consistent with previous reports. We concluded that electrical impedance in the uterine endometrial tissues of mares could be potentially used to verify the presence of active CL in horses for experimental purposes. However, further studies are needed to determine the reference value and to identify the day of the estrous cycle in mares.

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  • Hisashi FUNAKURA, Ayumi SHIKI, Yuji TSUBAKISHITA, Shogo MIDO, Hiromu K ...
    Article ID: 2017-135
    [Advance publication] Released: January 05, 2018
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    This study aimed to clarify the feasibility of a novel timed artificial insemination (TAI) protocol using ultrasonography, and to determine the associations between the ovarian component and fertility. In Experiment 1,272 Japanese Black cows with a corpus luteum (CL) ≥ 18 mm in diameter were divided randomly into either the TRT group (134 cows that were administered gonadotropin-releasing hormone [GnRH] 56 h [day 2] after prostaglandin F[PGF] administration [day 0], followed by TAI 16–20 h later) or the CN-1 group (138 cows that were administered PGF followed by AI after estrus detection). In addition, the CN-2 group was designated for 306 cows given PGF and inseminated after estrus detection in the past two years at the same farms. In Experiment 2, 38 cows had the same treatment as the TRT group, and the sizes of follicles and CL were video-recorded on days 0 and 2. In Experiment 1, the AI and ovulation synchronization rates were higher in the TRT group than those in the CN-1 group (100% vs. 87.0% and 89.2% vs. 33.3%, respectively) (P < 0.01). The pregnancy rate in the TRT group (60.4%) was higher than that in the CN-2 group (45.1%) (P < 0.05). In Experiment 2, cows with a larger CL diameter and greater CL volume on day 0 had a higher pregnancy outcome (P < 0.05). In conclusion, this protocol was effective for improving pregnancy rates in beef herds, and fertility was associated with the CL size at the time of PGF administration.

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  • Nan ZHANG, Wei MAO, Ying ZHANG, Na HUANG, Bo LIU, Long GAO, Shuangyi Z ...
    Article ID: 2017-076
    [Advance publication] Released: December 23, 2017
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    Oviductal glycoprotein 1 (OVGP1), an oviductin, is involved in the maintenance of sperm viability and motility and contributes to sperm capacitation in the oviduct. In this study, the regulatory effects exerted by prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and F (PGF) on OVGP1 expression via their corresponding receptors in bovine oviductal epithelial cells (BOECs) were investigated. BOECs were cultured in vitro, and their expression of receptors of PGE2 (PTGER1, PTGER2, PTGER3, and PTGER4) and PGF (PTGFR) was measured using RT-qPCR. Ca2+ concentration was determined with a fluorescence-based method and cAMP was quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays to verify activation of PTGER2 and PTGFR by their corresponding agonists in these cells. OVGP1 mRNA and protein expression was measured using RT-qPCR and western blotting, respectively, following PTGER2 and PTGFR agonist-induced activation. PTGER1, PTGER2, PTGER4, and PTGFR were found to be present in BOECs; however, PTGER3 expression was not detected. OVGP1 expression was significantly promoted by 10–6 M butaprost (a PTGER2 agonist) and decreased by 10–6 M fluprostenol (a PTGFR agonist). In addition, 3 μM H-89 (a PKA inhibitor) and 3 μM U0126 (an ERK inhibitor) effectively inhibited PGE2-induced upregulation of OVGP1, and 5 μM chelerythrine chloride (a PKC inhibitor) and 3 μM U0126 negated OVGP1 downregulation by PGF. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that OVGP1 expression in BOECs is enhanced by PGE2 via PTGER2-cAMP-PKA signaling, and reduced by PGF through the PTGFR-Ca2+-PKC pathway.

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  • Ren WATANABE, Naoko KIMURA
    Article ID: 2017-126
    [Advance publication] Released: December 21, 2017
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    Around the time of oocyte meiotic arrest, germ cell nest breakdown occurs, and primordial follicle (PF) formation is initiated at the perinatal stage. Recently, autophagy was implicated in this process. Autophagy is induced by nutrient starvation. This study was conducted to understand how starvation affects PF formation and autophagy induction during neonatal life. Suckling of neonatal female mice was blocked immediately after birth for 12–36 h to induce starvation. The numbers of PFs at each stage were subsequently counted from serial sections of ovaries. The expression of autophagy-related proteins was also evaluated. The number of PFs peaked at 60 h after birth in the control group. The numbers for the starvation groups were significantly higher than those for the control groups at 12 and 36 h. LC3B was clearly present in the oocyte cytoplasm. At 36 h after birth, the starvation group showed a higher rate of LC3II/LC3-I expression as a marker for autophagy. Moreover, the expression of p62 as a selective substrate for autophagy decreased compared to the control group. The expression of caspase-9 as a marker for apoptosis tended to be lower at 36 h in the starvation groups. These results indicate that starvation promotes PF formation with a concomitant activation of autophagy in early neonatal ovaries, suggesting that autophagy induction during follicle assembly might increase the number of PFs.

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  • Jinsha LIU, Keiji MOCHIDA, Ayumi HASEGAWA, Kimiko INOUE, Atsuo OGURA
    Article ID: 2017-148
    [Advance publication] Released: December 21, 2017
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    Although it is known that the susceptibility of mouse spermatozoa to freezing–thawing varies greatly with genetic background, the underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated. In this study, to map genetic regions responsible for the susceptibility of spermatozoa to freezing–thawing, we performed in vitro fertilization using spermatozoa from recombinant inbred mice derived from the C57BL/6J and DBA/2J strains, whose spermatozoa showed distinct fertilization abilities after freezing. Genome-wide interval mapping identified two suggestive quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with fertilization on chromosomes 1 and 11. The strongest QTL on chromosome 11 included 70 genes at 59.237260–61.324742 Mb and another QTL on chromosome 1 included 43 genes at 153.969506–158.217850 Mb. These regions included at least 15 genes involved with testicular expression and possibly with capacitation or sperm motility. Specifically, the Abl2 gene on chromosome 1, which may affect subcellular actin distribution, had polymorphisms between C57BL/6J and DBA/2J that caused at least three amino acid substitutions. A correlation analysis using recombinant inbred strains revealed that the fertilization rate was strongly correlated with the capacitation rate of frozen-thawed spermatozoa after preincubation. This result is consistent with the fact that C57BL/6J frozen–thawed spermatozoa recover their fertilization capacity following treatment with methyl-β-cyclodextrin to enhance sperm capacitation. Thus, our data provide important clues to the molecular mechanisms underlying cryodamage to mouse spermatozoa.

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  • Ying LIN, Liu-Cai SUI, Rong-Hua WU, Ru-Jun MA, Hai-Yan FU, Juan-Juan X ...
    Article ID: 2017-042
    [Advance publication] Released: December 16, 2017
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    Brusatol, a quassinoid isolated from the fruit of Bruceajavanica, has recently been shown to inhibit nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) via Keap1-dependent ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation or protein synthesis. Nrf2 is a transcription factor that regulates the cellular defense response. Most studies have focused on the effects of Nrf2in tumor development. Here, the critical roles of Nrf2 in mouse early embryonic development were investigated. We found that brusatol treatment at the zygotic stage prevented the early embryo development. Most embryos stayed at the two-cell stage after 5 days of culture (P < 0.05). This effect was associated with the cell cycle arrest, as the mRNA level of CDK1 and cyclin B decreased at the two-cell stage after brusatol treatment. The embryo development potency was partially rescued by the injection of Nrf2 CRISPR activation plasmid. Thus, brusatol inhibited early embryo development by affecting Nrf2-related cell cycle transition from G2 to M phase that is dependent on cyclin B-CDK1 complex.

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  • Tungmahasuk DOUNGRUT, Numfa FUNGBUN, Titaree LAOHARATCHATATHANIN, Ryot ...
    Article ID: 2017-142
    [Advance publication] Released: December 15, 2017
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    Although the expression of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in the ovaries is well established, its physiological role remains unknown. The aim of this study was to determine whether ovarian GnRH mediates the actions of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in the granulosa cells of immature female rats. Follicular growth was induced by administration of pregnant mare serum gonadotropin (PMSG, 15 IU/0.15 ml) on day 25 after birth, and hCG (20 IU/0.2 ml) was administered on day 27 to increase the plasma levels of progesterone. Primary cultures of granulosa cells were established from large follicles 2 days after PMSG treatment. Progesterone synthesis was augmented by hCG in a dose-dependent manner. Annexin A5 (ANXA5), a biomarker of GnRH, was expressed in the granulosa-luteal cells after hCG treatment, as shown by immunohistochemistry, suggesting that hCG treatment induced GnRH action. The GnRH mRNA level was increased by hCG, and treatment with GnRH agonist (GnRHa) increased ANXA5 mRNA levels in the primary cultures of granulosa cells. Concomitant incubation of GnRH (10–7 M) or GnRHa (fertirelin acetate, 10–8 M) with hCG suppressed progesterone synthesis during a 3-h incubation period. The mRNA expression of luteinizing hormone receptor (LHR) and follicle-stimulating hormone receptors (FSHR) was synergistically stimulated and suppressed by hCG and GnRHa, respectively. GnRHa stimulated p21 expression, and GnRHa and hCG synergistically reduced the mRNA expression levels of p27 and FOXO1. These data suggest that GnRH induced by LH may be involved in the LH-mediated luteinization of granulosa cells. In addition, ANXA5 may be involved in GnRH action. GnRH-ANXA5 would be an important mechanism in cell differentiation.

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  • Maria Grazia PALMERINI, Manuel BELLI, Stefania Annarita NOTTOLA, Selen ...
    Article ID: 2017-143
    [Advance publication] Released: December 11, 2017
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    Mancozeb, an ethylene bis-dithiocarbamate, is widely used as a fungicide and exerts reproductive toxicity in vivo and in vitro in mouse oocytes by altering spindle morphology and impairing the ability to fertilize. Mancozeb also induces a premalignant status in mouse granulosa cells (GCs) cultured in vitro, as indicated by decreased p53 expression and tenuous oxidative stress. However, the presence and extent of ultrastructural alterations induced by mancozeb on GCs in vitro have not yet been reported. Using an in vitro model of reproductive toxicity, comprising parietal GCs from mouse antral follicles cultured with increasing concentrations of mancozeb (0.001–1 µg/ml), we sought to ascertain the in vitro ultrastructural cell toxicity by means of transmission (TEM) and scanning (SEM) electron microscopy. The results showed a dose-dependent toxicity of mancozeb on mouse GCs. Ultrastructural data showed intercellular contact alterations, nuclear membrane irregularities, and chromatin marginalization at lower concentrations, and showed chromatin condensation, membrane blebbing, and cytoplasmic vacuolization at higher concentrations. Morphometric analysis evidenced a reduction of mitochondrial length in GCs exposed to mancozeb 0.01–1 µg/ml and a dose-dependent increase of vacuole dimension. In conclusion, mancozeb induced dose-dependent toxicity against GCs in vitro, including ultrastructural signs of cell degeneration compatible with apoptosis, likely due to the toxic breakdown product ethylenethiourea. These alterations may represent a major cause of reduced/delayed/missed oocyte maturation in cases of infertility associated with exposure to pesticides.

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  • Chika HIGUCHI, Natsumi SHIMIZU, Seung-Wook SHIN, Kohtaro MORITA, Kouhe ...
    Article ID: 2017-127
    [Advance publication] Released: December 07, 2017
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    Maternal RNA/protein degradation and zygotic genome activation (ZGA), occurring during maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT), are the first essential events for the development of pre-implantation embryos. Previously, we have shown the importance of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) for initiation of minor ZGA at the 1-cell stage of mouse embryos. However, little is known about the mechanism of involvement of the UPS-degraded maternal proteins in ZGA. In this study, we investigated the effect of inhibiting maternal protein degradation by the reversible proteasome inhibitor, MG132, on post-implantation development and ZGA regulation during early cleavage stages. Our study revealed that zygotic transcription by RNA polymerase II (Pol II) at the 1-cell stage was delayed and the full-term development was affected by transient proteasome inhibition during 1 to 9 hours post-insemination (hpi). Furthermore, we found that the transient inhibition of proteasome activity at the 2-cell stage delayed the onset of transcription of some major ZGA genes. These results support the model hypothesizing the requirement of sequential degradation of maternal proteins by UPS for the proper onset of ZGA and normal progression of MZT in early mouse embryos.

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  • Akane SATO, Borjigin SARENTONGLAGA, Kazuko OGATA, Mio YAMAGUCHI, Asuka ...
    Article ID: 2017-145
    [Advance publication] Released: December 07, 2017
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    The maturation rate of canine oocytes during in vitro maturation (IVM) needs to be improved. The present study was designed to evaluate the effects of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) on the IVM of canine oocytes. Ovaries were obtained by ovariohysterectomy and were sliced to release cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs). In Experiment 1, the effects of different concentrations of IGF-1 on the nuclear maturation of oocytes was investigated. The COCs were cultured in a modified medium (mTCM199) with IGF-1 (0, 0.5, 5, 10, and 50 µg/ml). At the end of the 48 h culture, oocytes were fixed and stained to evaluate their nuclear stage. Supplementation with 50 µg/ml IGF-1 induced a significantly higher metaphase II (MII) rate (P < 0.05) compared to the 0 and 0.5 μg/ml IGF-1 groups. In Experiment 2, the expression levels of insulin receptor (INSR), IGF-1 receptor (IGF-1R), and IGF-2 receptor (IGF-2R) genes, localized to canine oocytes and cumulus cells, were investigated before and after IVM. The expression level of IGF-1R in cumulus cells after IVM was higher than that before IVM (P < 0.05). In Experiment 3, it was investigated whether an inhibitor of PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog), bpV, affects the nuclear maturation of oocytes. Regardless of bpV supplementation at a concentration of 0.2 to 200 µmol/l, there was no significant difference in the proportion of oocytes that reached the MII stage. These results indicated that IGF-1 has a favorable effect on the IVM of canine oocytes, possibly through the stimulation of the Ras/MAPK pathway via IGF-1R expressed in cumulus cells.

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  • Kohta KIKUCHI, Keisuke SASAKI, Hiroki AKIZAWA, Hayato TSUKAHARA, Hanak ...
    Article ID: 2017-124
    [Advance publication] Released: November 17, 2017
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    Insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) is responsible for a broad range of physiological processes during fetal development and adulthood, but genomic analyses of IGF2 containing the 5ʹ- and 3ʹ-untranslated regions (UTRs) in equines have been limited. In this study, we characterized the IGF2 mRNA containing the UTRs, and determined its expression pattern in the fetal tissues of horses. The complete equine IGF2 mRNA sequence harboring another exon approximately 2.8 kb upstream from the canonical transcription start site was identified as a new transcript variant. As this upstream exon did not contain the start codon, the amino acid sequence was identical to the canonical variant. Analysis of the deduced amino acid sequence revealed that the protein possessed two major domains, IlGF and IGF2_C, and analysis of IGF2 sequence polymorphism in fetal tissues of Hokkaido native horse and Thoroughbreds revealed a single nucleotide polymorphism (T to C transition) at position 398 in Thoroughbreds, which caused an amino acid substitution at position 133 in the IGF2 sequence. Furthermore, the expression pattern of the IGF2 mRNA in the fetal tissues of horses was determined for the first time, and was found to be consistent with those of other species. Taken together, these results suggested that the transcriptional and translational products of the IGF2 gene have conserved functions in the fetal development of mammals, including horses.

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  • Yuko TOISHI, Nobuo TSUNODA, Shun-ichi NAGATA, Rikio KIRISAWA, Kentaro ...
    Article ID: 2017-099
    [Advance publication] Released: November 11, 2017
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    Testosterone (T) concentration is a useful indicator of reproductive function in male animals. However, T concentration is not usually measured in veterinary clinics, partly due to the unavailability of reliable and rapid assays for animal samples. In this study, a rapid chemiluminescent enzyme immunoassay system (CLEIA system) that was developed for the measurement of T concentration in humans use was validated for stallion blood samples. First, serum T concentrations were measured using the CLEIA system and compared with those measured by a fluoroimmunoassay that has been validated for use in stallions. The serum T concentrations measured by the two methods were highly correlated (r = 0.9865, n = 56). Second, to validate the use of whole blood as assay samples, T concentrations in whole blood and in the serum were measured by the CLEIA system. T concentrations in both samples were highly correlated (r = 0.9665, n = 64). Finally, to evaluate the practical value of the CLEIA system in clinical settings, T concentrations were measured in three stallions with reproductive abnormalities after the administration of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Two stallions with small or absent testes in the scrotum showed an increase in T production in response to hCG administration and one stallion with seminoma did not. In conclusion, the CLEIA system was found to be a rapid and reliable tool for measuring T concentrations in stallions and may improve reproductive management in clinical settings and in breeding studs.

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  • Shin-ichi KASHIWABARA, Satsuki TSURUTA, Yutaro YAMAOKA, Kanako OYAMA, ...
    Article ID: 2017-106
    [Advance publication] Released: November 03, 2017
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS ADVANCE PUBLICATION

    Mutant mice lacking a testis-specific cytoplasmic poly(A) polymerase, PAPOLB/TPAP, exhibit spermiogenesis arrest and male infertility. However, the mechanism by which PAPOLB regulates spermiogenesis remains unclear. In this study, we examined the relationships between PAPOLB and other spermiogenesis regulators present in the chromatoid body (CB). The loss of PAPOLB had no impact either on the abundance of CB components such as PIWIL1, TDRD6, YBX2, and piRNAs, or on retrotransposon expression. In addition, localization of CB proteins and CB architecture were both normal in PAPOLB-null mice. No interactions were observed between PAPOLB and PIWIL1 or YBX2. While PIWIL1 and YBX2 were associated with translationally inactive messenger ribonucleoproteins and translating polyribosomes, PAPOLB was present almost exclusively in the mRNA-free fractions of sucrose gradients. These results suggest that PAPOLB may regulate spermiogenesis through a pathway distinct from that mediated by CB-associated factors.

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  • Iulian IBĂNESCU, Claus LEIDING, Heinrich BOLLWEIN
    Article ID: 2017-083
    [Advance publication] Released: October 28, 2017
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS ADVANCE PUBLICATION

    This study aimed to identify motile sperm subpopulations in extended boar semen and to observe the presumptive seasonal variation in their distribution. Data from 4837 boar ejaculates collected over a two-year period were analyzed in terms of kinematic parameters by Computer Assisted Sperm Analysis (CASA). Individual sperm data were used to determine subgroups of motile sperm within the ejaculates using cluster analysis. Four motile sperm subpopulations (SP) were identified, with distinct movement patterns: SP1 sperm with high velocity and high linearity; SP2 sperm with high velocity but low linearity; SP3 sperm with low velocity but high linearity; and SP4 sperm with low velocity and low linearity. SP1 constituted the least overall proportion within the ejaculates (P < 0.05). Season of semen collection significantly influenced the different proportions of sperm subpopulations. Spring was characterized by similar proportions of SP1 and SP4 (NS) and higher proportions of SP3. Summer brought a decrease in both subgroups containing fast sperm (SP1 and SP2) (P < 0.05). During autumn, increases in SP2 and SP4 were recorded. Winter substantially affected the proportions of all sperm subpopulations (P < 0.05) and SP2 became the most represented subgroup, while SP1 (fast and linear) reached its highest proportion compared to other seasons. In conclusion, extended boar semen is structured in distinct motile sperm subpopulations whose proportions vary according to the season of collection. Summer and autumn seem to have a negative impact on the fast and linear subpopulation. Cluster analysis can be useful in revealing differences in semen quality that are not normally detected by classical evaluation based on mean values.

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  • Ihsan ALI, Hai Xing LIU, Li ZHONG-SHU, Ma DONG-XUE, Lijie XU, Syed Zah ...
    Article ID: 2017-055
    [Advance publication] Released: October 27, 2017
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS ADVANCE PUBLICATION

    Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, a dysfunction in protein-folding capacity, is involved in many pathological and physiological responses, including embryonic development. This study aims to determine the developmental competence, apoptosis, and stress-induced gene expression in mouse preimplantation embryos grown in an in vitro culture medium supplemented with different concentrations of the ER stress inducer tunicamycin (TM) and the antioxidant glutathione (GSH). Treatment of zygotes with 0.5 µg/ml TM significantly decreased (P < 0.05) the rate of blastocyst formation, whereas 1 mM GSH supplementation improved the developmental rate of blastocysts. Furthermore, TM treatment significantly increased (P < 0.05) the apoptotic index and reduced the total number of cells, whereas GSH significantly increased the total number of cells and decreased the apoptotic index. The expression levels of ER chaperones, including immunoglobulin-binding protein, activating transcription factor 6, double-stranded activated protein kinase-like ER kinase, activating transcription factor 4, and C/EBP homologous protein were significantly increased (P < 0.05) by TM, but significantly decreased (P < 0.05) by GSH treatment. A similar pattern was observed in the case of the pro-apoptotic gene, B cell lymphoma-associated X protein. The expression level of the anti-apoptotic gene B cell lymphoma 2, was decreased by TM, but significantly increased after co-treatment with GSH. In conclusion, GSH improves the developmental potential of mouse embryos and significantly alleviates ER stress.

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  • Alexander A. TOKMAKOV, Ken-Ichi SATO, Vasily E. STEFANOV
    Article ID: 2017-100
    [Advance publication] Released: October 27, 2017
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS ADVANCE PUBLICATION

    Spawned unfertilized eggs have been found to die by apoptosis in several species with external fertilization. However, there is no necessity for the externally laid eggs to degrade via this process, as apoptosis evolved as a mechanism to reduce the damaging effects of individual cell death on the whole organism. The recent observation of egg degradation in the genital tracts of some oviparous species provides a clue as to the physiological relevance of egg apoptosis in these animals. We hypothesize that egg apoptosis accompanies ovulation in species with external fertilization as a normal process to eliminate mature eggs retained in the genital tract after ovulation. Furthermore, apoptosis universally develops in ovulated eggs after spontaneous activation in the absence of fertilization. This paper provides an overview of egg apoptosis in several oviparous biological species, including frog, fish, sea urchin, and starfish.

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  • Hiromi KUSAKA, Hiroshi MIURA, Motohiro KIKUCHI, Minoru SAKAGUCHI
    Article ID: 2017-092
    [Advance publication] Released: October 26, 2017
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS ADVANCE PUBLICATION

    After parturition, the ovary ipsilateral to the side of previous pregnancy exhibits lower functional activity than that exhibited by the contralateral ovary. The local inhibitory effects of the corpus luteum of the previous pregnancy, and/or the presence of a previous gravid uterine horn, may induce the ipsilateral suppression of folliculogenesis. We examined the influence of the side of previous pregnancy on ovulation and folliculogenesis, until completion of the third postpartum ovulation. The ovaries of 30 Holstein cows were scanned by ultrasonography, through the three postpartum ovulation sequences. No significant differences in the development of growing follicles, 5–8 mm in diameter, were detected between ipsilateral and contralateral ovaries. However, the total number of dominant follicles emerging ipsilaterally before the second postpartum ovulation were less than those emerging contralaterally (25 vs. 75%), and both the first and second ovulation occurred less frequently on the ipsilateral versus contralateral side (23 vs. 77% and 27 vs. 73%, respectively). Sequential observation in this study clearly indicated that the influence of the side of previous pregnancy persisted until the second postpartum ovulation, and this affected postpartum dominant follicle selection and ovulation, but not the development of growing follicles.

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  • Toshimichi ISHII, Kensuke TOMITA, Hideo SAKAKIBARA, Satoshi OHKURA
    Article ID: 2017-095
    [Advance publication] Released: October 20, 2017
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS ADVANCE PUBLICATION

    This study was aimed at evaluating the effects of multi-layered cumulus cells (MCCs) during vitrification and in vitro fertilization (IVF) of mature bovine oocytes and embryogenesis after IVF. The rates of cleavage and blastocyst formation were higher in vitrified and fertilized oocytes with MCCs than in denuded oocytes (P < 0.05), but were comparable to the rates in fresh oocytes with MCCs or without (denuded). When the MCC-enclosed oocytes were denuded before IVF, blastocyst formation rate reduced compared with that in vitrified oocytes with MCCs (P < 0.05). This suggested that the MCCs surrounding the mature bovine oocytes play important roles during cryopreservation: protecting them against freezing and promoting their survival and development post IVF, thereby increasing the success rates of IVF and embryonic development. Herein, we showed for the first time that calves could be produced using only 14–19 vitrified mature oocytes with MCCs from the ovaries of individual cows post slaughter.

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  • Charlie HUVENEERS, Nicholas M. OTWAY, Megan T. STORRIE, Robert G. HARC ...
    Article ID: 20144
    [Advance publication] Released: February 23, 2009
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS ADVANCE PUBLICATION
    This article was retracted. See the Notification.
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