Disruption of Bovine Oocytes and Preimplantation Embryos by Urea and Acidic pH1

Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611-0910
Journal of Dairy Science - J DAIRY SCI 01/2003; 86(4):1194-1200. DOI: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(03)73703-5

ABSTRACT Feeding cattle diets high in degradable crude pro- tein(CP)orinexcessofrequirementscanreducefertil- ityandloweruterine pH.Objectivesweretodetermine direct effects of urea and acidic pH during oocyte mat- uration and embryonic development. For experiment 1, oocytes were matured in medium containing 0, 5, 7.5,or10mMurea(0,14,21,or28mg/dlureanitrogen, respectively). Cleavage rate was not reduced by any concentration of urea. However, the proportion of oo- cytes developing to the blastocyst stage at d 8 after insemination was reduced by 7.5 mM urea. In addi- tion, the proportion of cleaved oocytes becoming blas- tocysts was decreased by 5 and 7.5 mM urea. For ex- periment 2, putative zygotes were collected ∼ 9ha fter inseminationandculturedinmodifiedPotassiumSim- plex Optimized Medium (KSOM). Urea did not reduce the proportion of oocytes developing to the blastocyst stage, although 10 mM urea reduced cleavage rate slightly. For experiment 3, dimethadione (DMD), a weak nonmetabolizableacid, was used todecrease cul- ture medium pH. Putative zygotes were cultured in modified KSOM containing 0, 10, 15, or 20 mM DMD for 8 d. DMD reduced cleavage rate at 15 and 20 mM and development to the blastocyst stage at all concen- trations. Results support the idea that feeding diets rich in highly degradable CP compromises fertility through direct actions of urea on the oocyte and

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The objectives of the study were to evaluate the morphological quality of oocytes in repeat breeder and early lactation cows and to determine the possible associations between the quality of oocytes and a range of blood metabolites. Oocyte quality and a range of metabolites were compared between 29 repeat breeder and 13 early lactation cows. The yield of oocytes from the repeat breeders was lower than that from the early lactation cows (4.4 ± 0.2 vs 5.4 ± 0.6, p < 0.05). Percentages of abnormal oocytes for the repeat breeders and the early lactation cows were 52.5% and 37.9%, respectively (p < 0.001). An excess of abnormal oocytes to normal was found in 55.2% of the studied repeat breeders (65.8% vs 34.2%, p < 0.05). Total protein, glucose and aspartate aminotransferase did not differ (p > 0.05) between the repeat breeders with an excess of abnormal oocytes (81 ± 1.0 g/l, 3.5 ± 1.0 mmol/l and 68.5 ± 3.7 U/l), those with the prevalence of normal oocytes (84 ± 1.0 g/l, 3.6 ± 0.1 mmol/l and 73.2 ± 3.5 U/l) and the early lactation cows (83 ± 2.0 g/l, 3.7 ± 0.1 mmol/l and 74.5 ± 3.6 U/I). The repeat breeders with an excess of abnormal oocytes had higher (p < 0.05) urea (5.2 ± 0.2 mmol/l) level than in those with the prevalence of normal oocytes (4.8 ± 0.2 mmol/l) and the early lactation cows (4.7 ± 0.2 mmol/l). A trend for higher total cholesterol and lactate dehydrogenase activity was found in the repeat breeders with an excess of abnormal oocytes. In conclusion, it is suggested that possible causes of repeat breeding in dairy cows may include impaired oocytes. An excess of abnormal oocytes in the repeat breeder cows was associated with elevated blood plasma levels of urea.
    Reproduction in Domestic Animals 04/2011; 46(2):253-60. · 1.39 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: High plasma urea nitrogen concentration has been proposed as an important factor contributing to the decline in reproductive parameters of domestic animals. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of urea on the development of preimplantation embryos in a mouse model. During in vivo tests, acute renal failure (ARF) accompanied by hyper-uraemia was induced by intramuscular administration of glycerol (50%) into hind limbs of fertilised dams. During in vitro tests, embryos collected from healthy dams were cultured in a medium with the addition of various concentrations of urea from the 4-cell stage to the blastocyst stage. Stereomicroscopic evaluation and fluorescence staining of embryos obtained from dams with ARF showed that high blood urea is connected with an increase in the number blastocysts containing at least one apoptotic cell and in the incidences of dead cells per blastocyst, but it did not affect their ability to reach the blastocyst stage. In vitro tests showed that culture of embryos with urea at concentration of 10 mM negatively affected the quality of obtained blastocysts. Blastocysts showed significantly lower numbers of cells and increased incidence of dead cells. An increase in apoptosis incidence was observed even in blastocysts obtained from cultures with 5 mM urea. Urea at concentrations 50 mM and higher negatively affected the ability of embryos to reach the blastocyst stage and the highest used concentrations (from 500 mM) caused overall developmental arrest of embryos at the 4- or 5- cell stage. These results show that elevated levels of urea may cause changes in the microenvironment of developing preimplantation embryos, which can negatively affect their quality. Embryo growth remains un-affected up to very high concentrations of urea.
    Bull Vet Inst Pulawy. 01/2012; 56:211-216.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cows fed high-protein diets may have impaired reproductive performance. Although the pathogenesis has not been completely elucidated, it appears that not only the uterus, but also the follicle and oocyte, are affected by excessive plasma urea nitrogen (PUN) concentrations. Thus, the objective was to determine the effects of short-term urea feeding on the competence of bovine oocytes. Forty crossbred heifers (Bos indicus vs Bos taurus) were allocated to two groups, namely CONTROL (maintenance diet) and UREA (maintenance diet supplemented with 75 g of urea/day), following a cross-over design. Heifers received their respective diets for 6 d (without adaptation). On the sixth day, blood samples were harvested both before and 3 h after feeding, and cumulus oocyte complexes (COCs) were collected by ovum pick-up. Although PUN concentrations were higher in UREA than CONTROL heifers (31.31 mg/dL ± 1.13 vs 22.12 mg/dL ± 0.86; mean ± SEM), neither the number of COCs recovered (8.8 ± 1.0 vs 9.2 ± 0.8, UREA vs CONTROL, respectively) nor their quality (based on morphology) differed significantly between groups. Next, oocytes were fertilized and cultured in vitro to assess developmental rates. There was an absence of significant differences between groups for rates of cleavage (Day 3) or blastocyst formation (Days 6, 7 and 9), but the hatched blastocyst rate on Day 11 after fertilization was lower (P < 0.05) in the UREA than the CONTROL groups (64.3 vs 83.5%). Therefore, we inferred that the effects of urea were only manifest later in development. In conclusion, high PUN concentrations decreased oocyte competence in heifers, reinforcing the hypothesis that poor reproductive performance in cows with high PUN was due, at least in part, to a deleterious effect on oocytes.
    Theriogenology 07/2011; 76(2):312-319.e1. · 2.08 Impact Factor


Available from