T Somfai

National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science, Ibaragi, Ōsaka, Japan

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Publications (102)184.96 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In the present study, we examined the development to blastocysts of large and small blastomeres from unevenly cleaved 2-cell embryos (uneven 2-cell embryos) in pigs. Proportion of blastocysts derived from large blastomeres (52.8 ± 6.4%) was significantly higher (P < 0.05) compared with small ones (32.1 ± 4.6%). However, there were no differences in total cell number, inner cell mass (ICM) cell number and ICM/total cells ratio between them. Of 53 sister blastomere pairs in the same embryos examined there were 12 pairs (22.6%) in which both blastomeres developed to blastocysts, 16 pairs (30.2%) in which only large blastomeres developed to blastocysts, and five pairs (9.4%) in which only small blastomeres developed to blastocysts. Relative total amount of active mitochondria in small blastomeres were lower (P < 0.05) than that of large blastomeres and blastomeres from evenly cleaved 2-cell embryos. However, there was no difference in relative density of active mitochondria in these three types of blastomeres. In conclusion, blastocysts derived from small and large blastomeres in uneven 2-cell embryos had comparable quality in terms of cell number, ICM number, ICM/total cell ratio and distribution of active mitochondria. The results suggest that these blastomeres may contribute multiple offspring production in pigs.
    Animal Science Journal 02/2014; · 1.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the successful piglet production from cryopreserved oocytes for the first time by using a simple, high capacity vitrification protocol for preservation and a defined system for in vitro embryo production. Immature cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) from prepubertal gilts were vitrified in microdrops and stored in liquid nitrogen. After warming, COCs were subjected to in vitro maturation (IVM), fertilization (IVF), and subsequent culture (IVC). Adjusting warmplate temperature to 42°C during warming prevented temperature drops in a medium below 34.0°C and significantly increased the percentage of oocyte survival and thus blastocyst yields obtained from total vitrified oocytes compared with that of warming at 38°C (87.1% vs 66.9% and 4.4% vs 2.7%, respectively). Nuclear maturation and fertilization of oocytes were not affected by vitrification and warming temperature. Blastocyst development on day 7 (day 0 = IVF) of the surviving oocytes after warming at 38°C and 42°C was not different but lower (P<0.05) than those of non-vitrified control oocytes (4.6%, 5.2% and 17.9%, respectively). However, blastocyst cell numbers in the control and vitrified groups were similar irrespective of warming temperature. Omitting porcine follicular fluid (pFF) from IVM medium (POM) did not affect maturation, fertilization and embryo development of vitrified-warmed oocytes. Transfer of blastocysts obtained on day 5 from vitrified oocytes matured either with or without pFF into 4 recipients (2 for each group) resulted in 4 pregnancies and the delivery of a total of 18 piglets. In conclusion, optimization of warming temperature was a key factor for achieving high survival rates, and surviving oocytes could be utilized in vitro using defined media. Using these modifications, live piglets could be obtained from cryopreserved oocytes for the first time.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(5):e97731. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We produced recombinant porcine leukemia inhibitory factor (pLIF) and examined its effect on in vitro maturation (IVM) of porcine oocytes and their developmental competence after in vitro fertilization. Porcine cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) were matured in a medium supplemented with pLIF during the first 22 h, last 22 h, or entire 44 h duration of IVM. Oocytes in all groups tended to show enhanced nuclear maturation rates by the metaphase II (MII) stage (76.1%, 82.1%, and 86.6%, respectively) compared to the without-pLIF treatment group (69.6%, control). A significant increase in MII rate (P < 0.05) and obvious induction of cumulus expansion were observed over the whole time span (44 h) in the IVM group. When cumulus cells were removed at 22 h and denuded oocytes were further cultured, pLIF showed no effect on maturation rate. Oocytes matured in pLIF-supplemented medium showed a tendency for more rapid blastocyst development (21.1% vs. 16.2%, P = 0.0715). Examination of transcripts and proteins of the LIF signaling pathway in COCs revealed that LIF, LIF receptors, and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) are present in both cumulus cells and oocytes. The amount of phosphorylated STAT3 (p-STAT3) markedly increased in both cumulus cells and oocytes cultured in pLIF-supplemented media, although oocyte p-STAT3 disappeared after 44 h of IVM. These results suggest that the LIF/STAT3 pathway is functional during IVM of porcine oocytes, and supplementing pLIF in the IVM medium can improve oocyte maturation by activating this pathway. Mol. Reprod. Dev. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Molecular Reproduction and Development 12/2013; · 2.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Development to term of vitrified porcine follicular oocytes is reported in the present study. Immature cumulus-oocyte complexes (COC) were collected from slaughtered prepubertal gilts and were vitrified according to our method published recently (Somfai et al. 2013 J. Reprod. Dev., in press). Briefly, after pretreatment with 7.5μgmL(-1) of cytochalasin B (CB) for 30min in modified NCSU-37 (a basic medium, BM) at 38.5°C, groups of 88 to 121 COC were equilibrated in a mixture of 2% ethylene glycol (EG), 2% propylene glycol (PG), and 7.5μgmL(-1) CB for 13 to 15min. Then, COC were washed in vitrification solution (17.5% EG, 17.5% PG, 5% polyvinyl pyrrolidone, and 0.3M trehalose in BM) and then dropped with 2μL of vitrification solution onto the surface of aluminum foil floating on liquid nitrogen (LN2). Microdroplets (each containing 10-25 COC) were transferred into cryotubes. After storage in LN2 for 2 to 4 weeks, the oocytes were warmed by dropping the microdroplets directly into 2.5mL of warming solution (0.4M trehalose in BM) kept in a 35-mm Petri dish on a 42°C hotplate for less than 1min. Then, the warming dish was placed on a 38°C hotplate and COC were consecutively transferred for 1-min periods into BM containing 0.2, 0.1, or 0.05M trehalose at 38°C. The COC were matured in vitro for 44h using porcine oocyte medium (POM) supplemented with 10% follicular fluid (Yoshioka et al. 2008 J. Reprod. Dev. 54, 208-213). Then, oocytes were denuded, and their live/dead status and nuclear maturation were determined by their morphology and the presence of the first polar body, respectively. To assess their developmental competence, vitrified and non-vitrified (control) oocytes were in vitro fertilized (IVF; Kikuchi et al. 2002 Biol. Reprod. 66, 1033-1041) and then in vitro cultured in porcine zygote medium-5 (PZM-5; Yoshioka et al. 2008 J. Reprod. Dev. 54, 208-213). Blastocyst rates were recorded on Days 5, 6, and 7 of culture (Day 0=the day of IVF). The experiment was replicated 4 times. Data were analysed with 1-way ANOVA and the Tukey test. The results revealed that 86.4% (364/424) of oocytes survived after vitrification, which was significantly lower (P<0.05) than that of controls [100% (326/326)]. Live oocytes in vitrified and control groups did not differ statistically in terms of nuclear maturation (63.9 v. 65.3%). Blastocyst rates of surviving vitrified oocytes were significantly lower compared with controls on Days 5 (2.4 v. 12.7%), 6 (4.8 v. 17.6%), and 7 (5.6 v. 18.4%). To test their ability to develop to term, 16 and 27 blastocysts on Day 5 developing from vitrified COC were transferred into 2 recipients. Both recipients became pregnant and farrowed a total of 10 live piglets (4 and 6 piglets, respectively). These data demonstrate that large groups of immature porcine oocytes could be cryopreserved by this method showing high survival and maturation rates. Furthermore, despite a low rate of blastocyst development, transfer of Day-5 blastocysts generated from vitrified oocytes resulted in piglet production for the first time in the world.
    Reproduction Fertility and Development 12/2013; 26(1):136. · 2.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A variety of growth factors and cytokines that are present in follicular fluid provide oocytes with a suitable environment for their maturation. One such cytokine is leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF). Although LIF-supplemented medium enhances embryo development in human, mouse, and bovine, studies investigating the effects of LIF on in vitro maturation (IVM) and subsequent embryo development are inconclusive. Additionally, the underlying mechanisms of LIF in oocyte maturation and embryo development after IVF have not been studied yet. In the present study, we examined the effect of recombinant porcine LIF (pLIF), produced in our laboratory, on porcine oocyte maturation and the mechanism of how LIF involves in oocyte maturation process at molecular level. The biological activity of pLIF was evaluated by sustenance of mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells with an undifferentiating state in ES medium supplemented with pLIF, and the final concentration (1:200, equivalent to 1000UmL(-1) of mouse LIF) was determined by serial dilution. Porcine cumulus-oocyte complexes (COC) were cultured in modified NCSU-37 medium supplemented with pLIF during the first 22h [pLIF (+, -)], the latter 22h [pLIF (-, +)], or whole 44h [pLIF (+, +)] of IVM and the proportion of metaphase II (M-II) stage oocytes was observed. Oocyte maturation was enhanced in each group by supplementation with pLIF [pLIF (+, -): 76.1%, n=138; pLIF (-, +): 82.1%, n=140; pLIF (+, +): 86.6%, n=127], when compared with control [pLIF (-, -): 69.6%, n=112], in which a significant increase of M-II rate (P<0.05 by ANOVA) and cumulus expansion were observed in the pLIF (+, +) group. The effect of pLIF was only seen for COC but not for denuded oocytes. When oocytes were subjected to IVF (Kikuchi et al. 2002), those matured in pLIF (+, +)-supplemented medium demonstrated higher blastocyst developmental rates (21.1% v. 16.2%; P=0.07) with increased cell numbers (50.2 cells v. 45.0 cells; P=0.12) compared with pLIF (-, -) on Day 6 of embryo culture (IVF=0). Examination of transcripts and proteins of the LIF signalling pathway revealed that mRNA and protein levels of LIF, LIF receptors, and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) were similar in both pLIF (-, -) and pLIF (+, +) samples. However, notable phosphorylation of STAT3 was observed in the pLIF (+, +) sample. These results suggest that the LIF/STAT3-pathway is functional during oocyte maturation in pigs. Therefore, supplementation of maturation medium with pLIF could improve the developmental competence of oocytes by activation of this pathway.
    Reproduction Fertility and Development 12/2013; 26(1):192. · 2.58 Impact Factor
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    Yuji Hirao, Tamas Somfai, Kenji Naruse
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    ABSTRACT: Cryopreservation of growing oocytes enriches the choice of timing and location of artificial embryo production. However, completion of oocyte growth after warming is crucial when using such cryopreserved oocytes. Our research objective was to develop a sequential system that incorporates cryopreservation of growing bovine oocytes and their subsequent in vitro growth. Oocyte-granulosa cell complexes with a mean oocyte diameter of approximately 100 µm were vitrified-warmed and then cultured for 14 days. The percentage of surviving oocytes following cryopreservation and 14-day culture was approximately 80%. More than half of the surviving oocytes were capable of maturing to metaphase II after in vitro maturation; the rate was comparable to that of control oocytes grown in vitro without cryopreservation. Taken together, the combined protocols for vitrification-warming of growing oocytes and subsequent in vitro growth can produce oocytes capable of undergoing meiotic maturation.
    Journal of Reproduction and Development 10/2013; · 1.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aim of the study was to investigate the effect of vitrification on viability, cytoskeletal integrity and in vitro developmental competence after in vitro fertilization (IVF) of oocytes vitrified before or after in vitro maturation (IVM) using a pig model. Oocytes from abattoir-derived porcine ovaries were vitrified at either the germinal vesicle (GV) or metaphase II (MII) stage by modified solid surface vitrification (SSV). Oocyte viability was evaluated by stereomicroscopic observation whereas their nuclear stage and morphology of microtubules and F-actin were observed by confocal microscopy after immunostaining. Fertilization was assessed by orcein staining. The survival rate after vitrification was higher for MII-stage than for GV-stage oocytes. However, the ability of surviving oocytes to reach the MII stage after vitrification at the GV stage (GV-vitrified oocytes) was similar to that of control oocytes. Furthermore, after IVM, GV-vitrified oocytes had better spindle and F-actin integrity than oocytes vitrified at the MII stage (MII-vitrified oocytes). In accordance with this result, GV-vitrified oocytes had better ability to extrude the second polar body and support male pronucleus formation after in vitro fertilization (IVF), in comparison to MII-vitrified oocytes. Fertilization rates did not differ among groups. Finally, the ability of GV-vitrified oocytes to develop into embryos was superior to that of MII-vitrified oocytes. However, both vitrified groups showed reduced blastocyst development compared with the control group. In conclusion vitrification of porcine oocytes at the GV stage is advantageous in conferring better cytoskeletal organization and competence to develop to the blastocyst stage in comparison with vitrification at the MII stage.
    Cryobiology 08/2013; · 2.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mitochondria are reported to be critical in in vitro maturation of oocytes and subsequent embryo development after fertilization, but their contribution for fertilization has not been investigated in detail. In the present study, we investigate the contribution of mitochondria to fertilization using reconstructed porcine oocytes by fusion of ooplasmic fragments produced by serial centrifugations (centri-fusion). Firstly, we evaluated the characteristics of ooplasmic fragments. Three types of fragments were obtained by centrifugation of porcine oocytes matured in vitro for 46 h: brownish (B), transparent (T) and large (L) fragments containing both B and T parts in a fragment. The production efficiencies of these types of fragments were 71.7, 91.0 and 17.8 fragments/100 oocytes, respectively. In experiments, L fragments were excluded because they contained both brownish and transparent components that were apparently intermediate between B and T fragments. Observations by confocal microscopy after staining with MitoTracker Red CMXRos(®) and transmission electron microscopy revealed highly condensed active mitochondria in B fragments in contrast to T fragments that contained only sparse organelles. We reconstructed oocytes by fusion of a karyoplast and two cytoplasts from B and T fragments (B and T oocytes, respectively). The B oocytes showed higher sperm penetration (95.8%) and male pronuclear formation rates (94.2%) by in vitro fertilization than T oocytes (66.7% and 50.0%, respectively). These results suggest that the active mitochondria in oocytes may be related to their ability for fertilization.
    Journal of Reproduction and Development 08/2013; · 1.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Because of recent advancements in reproductive technology, oocytes have an increasingly enriched value as a unique cell population to produce offspring. The growing oocytes in the ovary are an immediate potential source to serve this need; however, complete oocyte growth before use is crucial. Our research objective was to create in vitro-grown (IVG) oocytes that would have the ability to perform specialized activities, including nuclear reprogramming, as an alternative to in vivo-grown oocytes. Bovine oocyte-granulosa cell complexes with a mean oocyte diameter of approximately 100 µm were cultured on Millicell membrane inserts with culture medium that was supplemented with 4% polyvinylpyrrolidone (molecular weight: 360000), 20 ng/ml androstenedione, 2 mM hypoxanthine, and 5 ng/ml bone morphogenetic protein 7. Oocyte viability after the 14-day culture period was 95%, and there was a 71% increase in oocyte volume. Upon inducing oocyte maturation, 61% of the IVG oocytes extruded a polar body. Eighty-four percent of the reconstructed IVG oocytes that used cumulus cells as donor cells underwent cleavage, and half of them became blastocysts. DNA methylation analyses of the satellite-I and II regions of the blastocysts revealed a similar highly methylated status in the cloned embryos derived from the in vivo-grown and IVG oocytes. Finally, one of the nine embryos reconstructed from the IVG oocytes developed into a living calf following embryo transfer. Fertility of the offspring was confirmed. In conclusion, the potential of a proportion of the IVG oocytes was comparable to that of in vivo-grown oocytes.
    Biology of Reproduction 07/2013; · 4.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Our aim was to optimize a cryoprotectant treatment for vitrification of immature porcine cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs). Immature COCs were vitrified either in 35% ethylene glycol (EG), 35% propylene glycol (PG) or a combination of 17.5% EG and 17.5% PG. After warming, the COCs were in vitro matured (IVM), and surviving oocytes were in vitro fertilized (IVF) and cultured. The mean survival rate of vitrified oocytes in 35% PG (73.9%) was higher (P<0.05) than that in 35% EG (27.8%). Oocyte maturation rates did not differ among vitrified and non-vitrified control groups. Blastocyst formation in the vitrified EG group (10.8%) was higher (P<0.05) than that in the vitrified PG group (2.0%) but was lower than that in the control group (25.0%). Treatment of oocytes with 35% of each cryoprotectant without vitrification revealed a higher toxicity of PG on subsequent blastocyst development compared with EG. The combination of EG and PG resulted in 42.6% survival after vitrification. The maturation and fertilization rates of the surviving oocytes were similar in the vitrified, control and toxicity control (TC; treated with EG+PG combination without cooling) groups. Blastocyst development in the vitrified group was lower (P<0.05) than that in the control and TC groups, which in turn had similar development rates (10.7%, 18.1% and 23.3%, respectively). In conclusion, 35% PG enabled a higher oocyte survival rate after vitrification compared with 35% EG. However, PG was greatly toxic to oocytes. The combination of 17.5% EG and 17.5% PG yielded reasonable survival rates without toxic effects on embryo development.
    Journal of Reproduction and Development 05/2013; · 1.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purposes of the present study were to examine the effect of naloxone, a mu-opioid receptor (MOR) antagonist, on porcine oocyte maturation and embryo development. MOR gene was expressed in germinal vesicle (GV) and metaphase II (M-II) porcine oocytes, one-, four-cell stage embryos and blastocysts. In blastocysts, MOR gene was mainly expressed in inner cell mass (ICM) cells. Supplementation of 10(-8) mol/L naloxone in in vitro maturation (IVM) medium increased the maturation rate (P < 0.05). However, 10(-4) mol/L naloxone reduced the maturation rate (P < 0.05) compared with the control. The presence of naloxone during IVM had no effects on fertilization status and subsequent embryonic development after in vitro culture (IVC). The addition of 10(-3) mol/L dibutyryl cyclic adenosine monophosphate (dbcAMP), and 10(-8 ) mol/L naloxone together into IVM medium increased nuclear maturation (P < 0.05) compared with the addition of either dbcAMP or naloxone alone. Supplementation with naloxone in IVC medium did not improve embryonic development. However, at the concentrations of 10(-6) mol/L and 10(-8) mol/L, naloxone increased the ratio of ICM to total cells in blastocysts (P < 0.05). In conclusion, at low concentration, naloxone increases maturation rate and the ratio of ICM to total cells in blastocysts. Naloxone and cAMP have a synergistic effect on oocyte maturation.
    Animal Science Journal 05/2013; · 1.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cryopreservation of immature testicular tissues is essential for increasing the possibilities of offspring generation by testicular xenografting for agricultural or medical purposes. However, successful production of offspring from the sperm involved has never been reported previously. In the present study, therefore, using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), we examined whether xenogeneic sperm obtained from immature pig testicular tissue after cryopreservation would have the capacity to produce live piglets. Testicular fragments from 9- to 11-day-old piglets were vitrified after 10- or 20-min immersion in vitrification solution containing ethylene glycol (EG), polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) and trehalose as cryoprotectants, and then stored in liquid nitrogen for more than 140 days. Thirty nude mice were assigned to each immersion-time group. Testicular fragments were transplanted under the back skin of castrated mice immediately after warming and removal of the cryoprotectants. Blood and testicular grafts were then recovered from the recipient mice on days 60, 120, 180 and 230-350 (day 0 = grafting). Histological assessment of the testicular grafts and analyses of inhibin and testosterone production revealed no significant differences between the two immersion-time groups, indicating equal growth activity of the cryopreserved tissues. A single sperm obtained from a mouse in each group on day 230-350 was injected into an in vitro-matured porcine oocyte, and then the ICSI oocytes were transferred to the oviducts of estrus-synchronized recipient gilts. One out of 4 gilts that had received oocytes fertilized using sperm from the 10-min immersion group delivered 2 live piglets, and one of another 4 gilts from the 20-min group delivered 4 live piglets. Thus, we have successfully generated porcine offspring utilizing sperm from immature testicular tissues after cryopreservation and transplantation into nude mice. The present model using pigs will be applicable to many large animals, since pigs are phylogenetically distant from the murine recipients.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(7):e70989. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective was to determine the effects of adding L-carnitine (an enhancer of lipid metabolism) during IVM, on cryotolerance and developmental competence of bovine oocytes. Oocytes matured in the absence (control) or presence (0.6 mg/mL) of L-carnitine were subjected to IVF and embryo culture after Cryotop vitrification or nonvitrification at the metaphase stage of the second meiotic cell division. Cleavage and blastocyst formation rates, and inner cell mass and trophectoderm cell numbers were determined. Also, ATP content in IVM oocytes was measured and intracellular lipid droplets were observed (Nile red staining and confocal microscopy). L-carnitine had no significant effect on the rate of matured oocytes. Vitrification reduced (P < 0.05) mean (±SEM) rates of live oocytes both in control (80.6 ± 1.9%) and L-carnitine groups (82.7 ± 5.1%) compared with nonvitrified oocytes (100%). After IVF, cleavage rates of vitrified control and L-carnitine groups (56.5 ± 3.9% and 62.8 ± 5.1%, respectively) were significantly lower than those in nonvitrified control and L-carnitine groups (83.9 ± 4.2% and 84.3 ± 1.3%). After vitrification, blastocyst formation rate in the L-carnitine group (54.4 ± 5.2%) was significantly higher compared with the control (34.9 ± 4.4%), and did not significantly differ from those in nonvitrified control and L-carnitine groups (52.1 ± 4.2% and 52.8 ± 3.0%). The numbers and ratio of inner cell mass and trophectoderm cells in blastocysts did not differ significantly among groups. The ATP content in L-carnitine-treated oocytes tended to be higher compared with the control. Vitrification did not reduce ATP content in oocytes, irrespective of L-carnitine treatment. Treatment with L-carnitine dislocated lipid droplets from the peripheral area to the inner cytoplasm. In conclusion, L-carnitine supplementation during IVM redistributed lipid droplets in oocytes; if they survived vitrification, their developmental competence was similar to that of nonvitrified oocytes.
    Theriogenology 12/2012; · 2.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Although telomeres are elongated during morula-to-blastocyst transition in cloned embryos, it is still unknown whether donor cell types have any effect on this elongation. In the present study, we examined the changes of telomere length during morula-to-blastocyst transition in cloned porcine embryos using different types of donor cells. Porcine embryonic stem-like cells (pESLCs), porcine cumulus cells (PCs), and porcine embryonic fibroblasts at passages 7 and 10 (PEF7s and PEF10s, respectively) were used as donor cells. Telomere lengths of pESLCs (35.8±1.5 kb), PCs (24.4±0.5 kb), PEF7s (18.7±0.6 kb), and PEF10s (17.2±0.1 kb) were significantly different. In contrast, telomere length in morulae derived from pESLCs (18.2±0.3 kb), PC (17.8±0.7 kb), PEF7 (18.5±0.3 kb), and PEF10 (18.4±0.4 kb) did not differ significantly. Likewise, telomeres in blastocysts derived from pESLCs (22.3±1.5 kb), PCs (23.5±2.6 kb), PEF7s (20.2±1.0 kb), and PEF10s (20.9±1.0 kb) had similar lengths. However, telomeres in blastocysts were significant longer (p<0.05) compared with morulae in each group. Relative telomerase activities of morulae derived from pESLCs (4.2±0.4), PCs (4.0±0.5), PEF7s (5.1±0.4), and PEF10s (4.9±0.4) were significantly lower (p<0.01) than those of blastocysts derived from pESLCs (8.2±1.1), PCs (8.6±0.6), PEF7s (12.5±2.9), and PEF10s (8.3±1.1). In conclusion, the telomere elongation in cloned pig embryos that occurred during morula-to-blastocyst transition may be related to the rise of telomerase activity. The telomere elongation may also be independent of the type and telomere length of the donor cell.
    Cellular reprogramming. 12/2012; 14(6):514-9.
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    ABSTRACT: The genetic codes of cloned animals and the donor are identical; however, incomplete reprogramming of donor nuclei during NT causes epigenetic abnormalities in cloned animals. Due to the genetic identity and epigenetic differences among clones, we can study epigenetic effects on the phenotypes by analyzing genetically identical clones. During the NT process, donor cell mitochondria (mt) are transferred into the recipient oocytes and mtDNA heteroplasmy is observed. Previous studies have reported various mtDNA transmission patterns not only in the cloned animal itself but also in the offspring of clones. However, differences in mtDNA copy number in cloned animals have not been reported, especially genetically identical ones. To analyze the genetic effects on mtDNA copy number in cattle, we compared actual mtDNA copy number per diploid genome in various tissues of clones derived from the same donor cells. From 5 genetically identical cloned cows (Japanese Black cattle, ages 68 to 82 months) and 6 non-cloned cows (Japanese Black cattle, ages 52 to 129 months), we isolated DNA from 8 kinds of tissues (heart, lung, liver, kidney, spleen, small intestine, muscle, and spinal cord) and measured mtDNA copy number by using real-time PCR. The absolute copy numbers of 2 mtDNA-encoded genes (COX1 and CytB) and 2 nuclear-encoded genes (H19 and IGF2) were measured and analyzed. To examine the epigenetic effects on mitochondria-related genes, we also analyzed DNA methylation patterns of mitochondria-related gene ANT4 (mitochondrial ADP-ATP translocase) in these tissues by the combined bisulfite restriction analysis (COBRA) method. The actual mtDNA copy number per diploid genome varied in tissues and individuals both in clones and non-clones (average in clones v. non-clones: heart: 11839±6210 v. 9569±2555; lung: 2027±1153 v. 1383±173; liver: 5644±2278 v. 4799±1848; spleen: 1080±844 v. 393±265; kidney: 7034±4448 v. 2939±784; small intestine: 1330±573 v. 437±171; muscle: 9861±3640 v. 7907±3229; spinal cord: 3961±1819 v. 2756±496). The variability of mtDNA copy number in clones was significantly higher in the lung, spleen, kidney, small intestine, and spinal cord (P=0.001, 0.026, 0.005, 0.021, and 0.014, respectively; F-test), but not in other tissues. Methylation of the ANT4 gene is quite tissue dependent: hypomethylated in the liver, muscle and spinal cord; moderately methylated in the heart, lung, and kidney; and highly methylated in the spleen and small intestine. The methylation patters of ANT4 were not different between clones and non-clones. These results suggest that mtDNA copy number is more influenced by nongenetic factors than genetic background.
    Reproduction Fertility and Development 12/2012; 25(1):171. · 2.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We previously reported that follicular wave synchronization and follicular growth treatment (FGT) before ovum pick-up (OPU) were effective in improving oocyte competence, which was associated with an increase in related embryos obtained by somatic cell nuclear transfer (Sugimura et al. 2012 Cell. Reprogram. 14, 29-37). However, oxygen consumption in oocytes remained unknown. The present study was designed to examine the differences in oxygen consumption between bovine oocytes obtained by OPU with or without FGT after in vitro maturation. Holstein dry cows (n=8) were reared under the same feeding and environmental conditions. Two OPU sessions were conducted in each cow to collect immature oocytes, as described by Sugimura et al. (2012). The first OPU session (OPU group) was performed in cows on arbitrary days of the oestrous cycle, using a 7.5-MHz linear transducer with the needle connected to an ultrasound scanner. Follicles larger than 8mm in diameter were then aspirated and a controlled internal drug release device (CIDR) was inserted on Day 5 (the day of the first OPU session=Day 0). Then 30 Armour units (AU) of FSH (Antrin, Kyoritsu Seiyaku, Tokyo, Japan) was administrated to cows twice a day from Day 7 to 10 in decreasing doses (6, 6, 4, 4, 3, 3, 2, 2 AUday(-1)). Cloprostenol (prostaglandin F(2α); 0.75mg) was administered in the morning of Day 9. The second OPU session (FGT-OPU group) was performed 48h after prostaglandin F(2α) administration (Day 11), and only follicles larger than 5mm in diameter were aspirated. The CIDR was removed from the cows just before OPU. Collected cumulus-oocyte complexes in the OPU and FGT-OPU groups were matured in vitro as described by Imai et al. [2006 J. Reprod. Dev. 52(Suppl.), S19-S29]. To collect in vivo-matured oocytes (control group), the CIDR was inserted into the cows on arbitrary days of the oestrous cycle (=Day 0), and oestradiol benzoate (0.8mg) was administered on Day 1. The cows received the FGT treatment (as described above) from Day 6 to 10; however, the CIDR was removed in the evening of Day 8. Buserelin (gonadotropin-releasing hormone; 200µg) was then administrated in the morning of Day 10, and OPU was performed at 24h after gonadotropin-releasing hormone administration (Day 11). Oxygen consumption of matured oocytes was measured noninvasively with a scanning electron microscopy system (HV-405SP; Hokuto Denko Co., Tokyo, Japan). Data were analysed by ANOVA followed by a Tukey-Kramer test. There was no difference in the mean oxygen consumption between the FGT-OPU group (0.34±0.02×10(-14)mol(-1), mean ± SEM) and control group (0.40±0.01×10(-14)mol(-1)). However, oxygen consumption in the FGT-OPU and control groups was significantly lower (P<0.01) than that in the OPU group (0.50±0.02×10(-14)mol(-1)). These results revealed significantly lower oxygen consumption in OPU-derived in vitro-matured bovine oocytes after FGT treatment compared with those obtained without FGT treatment. Oxygen consumption of oocytes obtained from FGT-OPU was similar to that of in vivo-matured oocytes, which may reflect their cytoplasmic maturation status with high developmental competence.
    Reproduction Fertility and Development 12/2012; 25(1):273-4. · 2.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Analyses on telomere length in cloned animals have revealed diverse results depending on the donor cell types. In mice and cattle, telomere length is reset during morula-blastocyst transition and the restoration is thought to be a telomerase-dependent process. However, it is still unknown whether the pattern of telomere elongation during this transition is dependent on donor cell types. In the present study, we examined the changes of telomere length during morula-blastocyst transition in cloned porcine embryos using different types of donor cell. Embryonic stem-like cells (ES), cumulus cells (C), fibroblasts at passages 7 and 10 (F7 and F10, respectively) were used as donor cells to produce NT embryos (ES, C, F7, and F10 groups, respectively). Telomere lengths of ES (35.8±1.5kb), C (24.4±0.5kb), P7 (18.7±0.6kb), and P10 (17.2±0.1kb) cells were significantly different. In contrast, cloned morulae in ES, C, F7, and F10 groups did not have any significant differences in telomere length (18.2±0.3, 17.8±0.7, 18.5±0.3, and 18.4±0.4kb, respectively). Likewise, cloned blastocysts in ES, C, F7, and F10 groups had similar telomere length (22.3±1.5, 23.5±2.6, 20.2±1.0, and 20.9±1.0kb, respectively). However, the telomere of the blastocyst was significantly longer (P<0.05) compared with the morula in the respective group. Furthermore, relative telomerase activities of cloned morulae in ES, C, F7, and F10 groups (4.2±0.4, 4.0±0.5, 5.1±0.4, and 4.9±0.4, respectively) were significantly lower (P<0.01) than those of cloned blastocysts in the same groups (8.2±1.1, 8.6±0.6, 12.5±2.9, and 8.3±1.1, respectively). The proportions of blastocysts in cloned embryos for ES, C, F7, and F10 groups (10.0±5.2, 17.3±2.9, 13.5±2.9, and 13.1±3.6%, respectively) did not significantly differ. Total cell numbers in blastocysts for ES, C, F7, and F10 groups (28.3±2.9, 32.6±3.6, 30.4±3.1, and 27.4±2.2, respectively) were not significantly different as well. In the present study, we found that the telomere elongation in cloned pig embryos occurs during morula-blastocyst transition. This is consistent with the previous findings in in vivo and in vitro fertilization and cloned embryos in cattle and mice. We also revealed that although different types of cells (ES, C, and F) or the same type of cells with different telomere length (F7 and F10) were used for NT, their resultant morulae and blastocysts had similar telomere length. This suggests that the telomere restoration during morula-blastocyst transition is independent of telomere length and type of donor cells. An increase in telomerase activity during morula-blastocyst transition indicates that the elongation of telomere length was likely a telomerase-dependent process. In conclusion, restoration of telomere length in cloned porcine embryos during morula-blastocyst transition was independent of telomere length and type of donor cells, and likely a telomerase-dependent process.
    Reproduction Fertility and Development 12/2012; 25(1):166. · 2.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We compared the feasibility of ethylene glycol (EG) and propylene glycol (PG) for the vitrification of immature porcine cumulus-oocyte complexes (COC). Porcine COC collected from 3- to 6-mm follicles of slaughterhouse-derived ovaries were subjected to solid-surface vitrification (Somfai et al. 2010 Theriogenology 73, 147-156) either in 35% (v/v) EG or 35% (v/v) PG or in the mixture of 17.5% (v/v) EG and 17.5% (v/v) PG. After warming, the COC were subjected to in vitro maturation, IVF, and embryo culture according to Kikuchi et al. (2002 Biol. Reprod. 66, 1033-1041). Oocyte survival and maturation rates were assessed after in vitro maturation by evaluating membrane integrity and the extrusion of the first polar body. All live oocytes were subjected to IVF and in vitro culture. Cleavage and blastocyst rates were calculated from the total number of oocytes subjected to IVF on Day 2 (Day 0=IVF) and Day 7, respectively. Total-cell (blastomeres) numbers in blastocysts were recorded on Day 7 after staining with Hoechst 33342. In Experiment 1, competence parameters of oocytes vitrified either in EG-based (EG group; n=310) or a PG-based (PG group; n=265) vitrification media were compared with those in the nonvitrified control (n=160). The experiment was replicated 4 times. In Experiment 2, the competence parameters of oocytes vitrified with the combination of 17.5% EG and 17.5% PG (EG+PG group; n=397) were compared with those in nonvitrified control (n=245) and toxicity control (TC, exposed to cryoprotectants without cooling; n=245) groups. Five replications were performed. Results were analyzed by ANOVA. Differences with P<0.05 were considered significant. In Experiment 1, the mean survival rate of vitrified oocytes was significantly higher (P<0.05) in 35% PG compared with that in 35% EG (73.3 and 25.9%, respectively). Maturation rates of surviving oocytes did not differ among vitrified (PG and EG) and nonvitrified control groups (71.1, 62.4, and 64.0%, respectively). After IVF of surviving oocytes, blastocyst formation rate in the group vitrified in EG was higher (P<0.05) compared with that vitrified in PG but was lower (P<0.05) compared with control (10.8, 2.0, and 25.0%, respectively). Mean cell numbers in blastocysts did not differ among EG, PG, and control groups (50.5, 47.7, and 48.7, respectively). In Experiment 2, survival of immature oocytes in the EG+PG group was 42.6%. After IVF, 10.7% of oocytes developed to the blastocyst stage in the EG+PG group, which was lower (P<0.05) than those of the control (18.1%) and TC (23.3%) groups. Blastocyst rates in the control and TC groups were not statistically different. Mean cell numbers in blastocysts did not differ significantly among the EG+PG, control, and TC groups (61.6, 59.3, and 53.3, respectively). In conclusion, 35% PG provided a higher oocyte survival rate after vitrification compared with 35% EG. However, presumably due to toxic effects, 35% PG greatly reduced the development competence of oocytes. The combination of 17.5% EG and 17.5% PG yielded higher survival rates than did 35% EG, without any toxic effect on oocytes.
    Reproduction Fertility and Development 12/2012; 25(1):187. · 2.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite meticulous attempts for more than two decades, establishment of authentic porcine embryonic stem cell (ESC) from pig has never been successful. Although putative porcine ESC-like cells have been reported, such cell lines easily lose the ability of self-renewal, becoming extinct or differentiating after only a limited number of passages in culture. Porcine ESC-like cells exhibiting the property of self-renewal rather than pluripotency are considered a valuable resource in applications such as drug screening and toxicology testing in humans and livestock, and in veterinary medicine. In the present study, we evaluated the effect of glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) inhibitor CHIR99021 and Erk signalling inhibitor PD184352 for use in establishing ESC-like cell lines derived from the inner cell mass (ICM) of porcine blastocysts produced in vitro. These ICM-derived cell lines were initially cultured and passaged in conventional human ES medium. They displayed so-called ESC-like morphology; for example, the isolated colonies began to grow as a monolayer with coarse cell-cell boundaries, in which the cells exhibited polygonal boundaries, high nuclear/cytoplasmic ratios, abundant lipid-like inclusions, alkaline phosphatase activity, and expression of markers of undifferentiated cells such as OCT4 and NANOG. After transfer to culture in ES medium containing the inhibitors, the morphology of the colony was dramatically changed, displaying a closely packed and smooth-edged colony with tight cell-cell boundaries. Remarkably, growth of the established cell lines is leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF)-dependent. The inclusion of inhibitors supports self-renewal, thus enabling continuous culture for over 100 passages while maintaining an undifferentiated state. High-passage-number cells continued to express undifferentiated marker genes and showed alkaline phosphatase activity and telomerase activity with an X chromosome status of X(a)X(i). We further investigated the potential for differentiation of the established cell lines. The cells could easily form embryoid body-like spheres in suspension culture. When either the spheres or ESC-like cells were inoculated under the kidney or testis capsules of nude mice, classical teratoma formation was not observed after 2 to 3 months. However, histological analyses revealed apparent invasive proliferation derived from porcine cells. Although further analyses are required to characterise the property of the porcine ESC-like cells, we have recently succeeded in establishment of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing stable cells lines, which will be useful for further investigation.
    Reproduction Fertility and Development 12/2012; 25(1):297. · 2.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Failure of male pronucleus formation has hampered the success of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in swamp buffalo. The aim of the present study was to improve male pronucleus formation by pretreating sperm with various chemicals before ICSI. In Experiments1 and 2, sperm were treated according to one of the following protocols: (1) 0.1% Triton-X 100 (TX) for 1 min, (2) 10 μM calcium ionophore (CaI) for 20 min, (3) freezing and thawing (FT) without any cryoprotectant, or (4) no treatment (control). These sperm treatment groups then either did or did not receive additional sperm treatment with 5 mM dithiothreitol (DTT) for 20 min. Acrosomal integrity (Experiment 1) and DNA fragmentation (Experiment 2) were evaluated in the sperm before ICSI. In Experiment 3, oocytes matured in vitro were subjected to ICSI using pretreated sperm as described above and then were cultured either with or without activation. The TX- and CaI-treated sperm caused an increase in the number of acrosome-loss sperm, whereas the FT treatment and control increased the proportion of acrosome-reacted sperm (P<0.05). The DNA fragmentation did not differ among treatments (P>0.05). At 18 h post-ICSI, pronucleus (PN) formation was found only in activated oocytes. The majority of the activated ICSI oocytes contained intact sperm heads. Normal fertilization was observed in the CaI and FT treatment groups and control group when sperm were treated with DTT before ICSI. In conclusion, DTT treatment of sperm with reacted acrosomes before ICSI together with activation of the ICSI oocytes is important for successful male pronucleus formation.
    Journal of Reproduction and Development 11/2012; · 1.76 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

527 Citations
184.96 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2006–2014
    • National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science
      Ibaragi, Ōsaka, Japan
  • 2013
    • University of Tsukuba
      Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
    • Research Institute for Animal Breeding and Nutrition, Hungary
      Budapeŝto, Budapest, Hungary
  • 2009–2012
    • National Livestock Breeding Center
      Hukusima, Fukushima, Japan
    • Suranaree University of Technology
      • School of Biotechnology
      Khorat, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
  • 2003–2010
    • National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences
      • Division of Animal Sciences
      Tsukuba, Ibaraki-ken, Japan
  • 2005
    • Prime Tech Ltd.
      牛久, Ibaraki, Japan
  • 2002
    • University of West Hungary, Sopron
      Scarabantia, Győr-Moson-Sopron, Hungary