[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sex steroid hormones regulate developmental programming in many tissues, including programming gene expression during prenatal development. While estradiol is known to regulate placentation, little is known about the role of testosterone and androgen signaling in placental development despite the fact that testosterone rises in maternal circulation during pregnancy and in placenta-induced pregnancy disorders. We investigated the role of testosterone in placental gene expression, and focused on androgen receptor (AR). Prenatal androgenization decreased global DNA methylation in gestational day 90 placentomes, and increased placental expression of AR as well as genes involved in epigenetic regulation, angiogenesis, and growth. As AR complexes with histone lysine demethylases (KDMs) to regulate AR target genes in human cancers, we also investigated if the same mechanism is present in the ovine placenta. AR co-immunoprecipitated with KDM1A and KDM4D in sheep placentomes, and AR-KDM1A complexes were recruited to a half-site for androgen response element (ARE) in the promoter region of VEGFA. Androgenized ewes also had increased cotyledonary VEGFA. Finally, in human first trimester placental samples KDM1A and KDM4D immunolocalized to the syncytiotrophoblast, with nuclear KDM1A and KDM4D immunostaining also present in the villous stroma. In conclusion, placental androgen signaling, possibly through AR-KDM complex recruitment to AREs, regulates placental VEGFA expression. AR and KDMs are also present in first trimester human placenta. Androgens appear to be an important regulator of trophoblast differentiation and placental development, and aberrant androgen signaling may contribute to the development of placental disorders.
PLoS ONE 02/2015; 10(2):e0117472. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0117472 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abiotic inputs such as photoperiod and temperature can regulate reproductive cyclicity in many species. When humans perturb this process by intervening in reproductive cycles, the ecological consequences may be profound. Trophic mismatches between birth pulse and resources in wildlife species may cascade toward decreased survival and threaten the viability of small populations. We followed feral horses (Equus caballus) in three populations for a longitudinal study of the transient immunocontraceptive porcine zona pellucida (PZP), and found that repeated vaccinations extended the duration of infertility far beyond the targeted period. After the targeted years of infertility, the probability of parturition from post-treated females was 25.6% compared to 64.1% for untreated females, when the data were constrained only to females that had demonstrated fertility prior to the study. Estimated time to parturition increased 411.3 days per year of consecutive historical treatment. Births from untreated females in these temperate latitude populations were observed to peak in the middle of May, indicating peak conception occurred around the previous summer solstice. When the post-treated females did conceive and give birth, parturition was an estimated 31.5 days later than births from untreated females, resulting in asynchrony with peak forage availability. The latest neonate born to a post-treated female arrived 7.5 months after the peak in births from untreated females, indicating conception occurred within 24-31 days of the winter solstice. These results demonstrate surprising physiological plasticity for temperate latitude horses, and indicate that while photoperiod and temperature are powerful inputs driving the biological rhythms of conception and birth in horses, these inputs may not limit their ability to conceive under perturbed conditions. The protracted infertility observed in PZP-treated horses may be of benefit for managing overabundant wildlife, but also suggests caution for use in small refugia or rare species.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(1):e54972. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0054972 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Kisspeptides (KiSS) are a recently discovered family of neuropeptides with a central role in regulating the onset of reproductive function in all animals studied to date. We have established biological and physiological evidence for KiSS signaling in the mare. The objective of the current study was to evaluate the physiological and behavioral responses of mares repeatedly given the equine-specific kisspeptpin decapeptide (eKp-10, YRWNSFGLRY-NH(2)) in an effort to shorten the interovulatory period. Administration of eKp-10 (0.5 mg iv every 4 h) to mares beginning on Day 16 postovulation (Group 2) or in estrus (Group 3) did not shorten the mean ± SEM interovulatory interval compared with untreated (Group 1) controls (21.9 ± 1.2, 22 ± 1.2, and 21.5 ± 1.5 days in Groups 1 to 3, respectively; N = 6 per group), nor was there a significant difference in follicle diameter before ovulation among groups, nor number of days treated with eKp-10 for Groups 2 and 3. Mean daily concentrations of FSH, the preovulatory LH surge (timing, mean, and peak concentrations), and mean progesterone concentrations from the newly formed CL were not significantly different among groups. The initiation of treatment was negatively correlated with sexual receptivity (scored 0 to 5: no interest to strong interest) and serum estradiol concentrations, indicating that eKp-10 can significantly disrupt normal sexual receptivity in the estrous mare. This effect on sexual receptivity was short-lived (< 72 h) and the overall change in sexual receptivity score was not significantly different between Groups 2 and 3 (-1.2 ± 0.5 and -1.4 ± 0.4, respectively). However, the day of the cycle that treatment was initiated significant affected the decline in sexual receptivity score, such that the later in the cycle that treatment was initiated, the greater the estimated decrease in sexual receptivity. In conclusion, the linear hypothalamic-pituitary mechanism for KiSS described in other species was not appropriate for the horse and administration of eKp-10 in the seasonally estrous mare may have been outside of the hormone's normal physiological context.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gonadotropin-releasing hormone is intermittently released from the hypothalamus in consistent patterns from before birth to final maturation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis at puberty. Disruption of this signaling via GnRH vaccination during the neonatal period can alter reproduction at maturity. The objective of this study was to investigate the long-term effects of GnRH-antibody exposure on reproductive maturation and function in elk calves passively exposed to high concentrations of GnRH antibodies immediately after birth. Fifteen elk calves (eight males and seven females) born to females treated with GnRH vaccine or sham vaccine during midgestation were divided into two groups based on the concentration of serum GnRH antibodies measured during the neonatal period. Those with robust (>15 pmol (125)I-GnRH bound per mL of serum) titers (N = 10; four females and six males) were designated as the exposed group, whereas those with undetectable titers (N = 5; three females and two males) were the unexposed group. Onset of puberty, reproductive development, and endocrine function in antibody-exposed and unexposed male and female elk calves were compared. Neonatal exposure to high concentrations of GnRH antibodies had no effect on body weight (P = 0.968), endocrine profiles (P > 0.05), or gametogenesis in either sex. Likewise, there were no differences between groups in gross or histologic structure of the hypothalamus, pituitary, testes, or ovaries. Pituitary stimulation with a GnRH analog before the second potential reproductive season induced substantial LH secretion in all experimental elk. All females became pregnant during their second reproductive season and all males exhibited similar mature secondary sexual characteristics. There were no differences between exposure groups in hypothalamic GnRH content (P = 0.979), pituitary gonadotropin content (P > 0.05) or gonadal structure. We concluded that suppressing GnRH signaling through immunoneutralization during the neonatal period likely does not alter long-term reproductive function in this species.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this experiment was to determine if dietary inclusion of fish meal would increase plasma and luteal tissue concentrations of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids. Seventeen nonlactating Angus cows (2 to 8 yr of age) were housed in individual pens and fed a corn silage-based diet for approximately 60 d. Diets were supplemented with fish meal at 5% DMI (a rich source of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid; n = 9 cows) or corn gluten meal at 6% DMI (n = 8 cows). Body weights and jugular blood samples were collected immediately before the initiation of supplementation and every 7 d thereafter for 56 d to monitor plasma n-3 fatty acid composition and BW. Estrous cycles were synchronized using 2 injections of PGF(2α) administered at 14-d intervals. The ovary bearing the corpus luteum was surgically removed at midcycle (between d 10 and 12) after estrus synchronization, which corresponded to approximately d 60 of supplementation. The ovary was transported to the laboratory, and approximately 1.5 g of luteal tissue was stored at -80°C until analyzed for n-3 fatty acid content. Initial and ending BW did not differ (P > 0.10) between cows supplemented with fish meal and those with corn gluten meal. Plasma eicosapentaenoic acid was greater (P < 0.05) beginning at d 7 of supplementation and docosahexaenoic was greater (P < 0.05) beginning at d 14 of supplementation for cows receiving fish meal. Luteal tissue collected from fish meal-supplemented cows had greater (P < 0.05) luteal n-3 fatty acids and reduced (P < 0.05) arachidonic acid and n-6 to n-3 ratio as compared with tissue obtained from cows supplemented with corn gluten meal. Our data show that fish meal supplementation increases luteal n-3 fatty acid content and reduces available arachidonic acid content, the precursor for PGF(2α). The increase in luteal n-3 fatty acids may reduce PGF(2α) intraluteal synthesis after breeding resulting in increased fertility in cattle.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A biopsy procedure was developed to enable repeated sampling of a single equine corpus luteum (CL) over the course of an estrous cycle. The tissue collected was utilized in characterizing mRNA abundance for genes involved in luteal formation, function, and regression in the cyclic mare. Serial biopsies of CL in cyclic mares (2.7 to 27.5 mg per biopsy) were collected using an ultrasound-guided transvaginal technique. Biopsies were collected from each mare on d 2 and 5 (d 0 = ovulation) of the estrous cycle, and every other day from d 12 through luteolysis. Samples were obtained from 4 mares with normal estrous cycles and 1 mare with a retained CL. The biopsy procedure did not adversely affect luteal size or function, as measured by luteal area and serum concentrations of progesterone. Real-time reverse-transcription PCR was used to quantify steady state mRNA concentrations in each tissue sample obtained. Mean abundance of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) mRNA was not different (P = 0.102 to 0.964) on any of the sampling dates, but a trend for mRNA encoding StAR to decrease between d 12 and 14 (P = 0.10) was observed. Values for mRNA encoding StAR were positively correlated to serum concentrations of progesterone on d 5 (R = 0.95; P = 0.05) and 14 (R > 0.99; P < 0.01). Steady-state abundance of mRNA for 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, Δ 5-Δ 4 isomerase (3β-HSD) declined between d 12 and 14 (P = 0.15). There were positive correlations between mRNA for 3β-HSD and concentrations of progesterone on d 5 (R = 0.94; P = 0.06) and 12 (R > 0.99; P = 0.05). No difference was detected in abundance of mRNA encoding cyclooxygenase-2 (cox-2; P = 0.340 to 0.840) or caspase-3 (P = 0.517 to 0.882) between any of the sampling dates. A successful luteal biopsy procedure was developed that did not negatively affect luteal function, and abundance of mRNA encoding StAR, 3β-HSD, cox-2, and caspase-3 was characterized in luteal biopsy tissue collected on d 2, 5, 12, and 14 of the estrous cycle in the mare.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interferon tau (IFNT) from the ovine conceptus has paracrine actions on the endometrium that alter release of prostaglandin F(2alpha) (PGF) and protect the corpus luteum (CL). Antiviral activity in uterine vein blood and expression of interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) in CL is greater in pregnant than in nonpregnant ewes. We hypothesized that IFNT contributes to antiviral activity in uterine vein blood and has endocrine actions on the CL. Preadsorption of IFNT with antiserum against recombinant ovine (ro) IFNT revealed that antiviral activity in uterine vein blood from pregnant ewes was mediated by IFNT. Endocrine actions of IFNT were examined after infusing either roIFNT or bovine serum albumin (BSA; 200 microg/24 h; mini-osmotic pump) into the uterine vein of nonpregnant ewes from Day 10 to Day 11 postestrus. The abundance of ISG15 mRNA and protein was greater in CL (P < 0.05) from ewes receiving 24-h roIFNT infusion compared to that from ewes receiving 24-h BSA infusion. Injection of PGF at 12 h following insertion of mini-osmotic pumps resulted in a decline in serum progesterone concentrations 6 through 12 h later in BSA-infused ewes; however, in roIFNT-infused ewes, a similar decline in progesterone concentrations at 6 h was followed by recovery to control values at 12 h. Ewes then received infusions (200 microg/day) of either roIFNT or BSA for 7 days beginning on Day 10 of the estrous cycle. All BSA-infused ewes returned to estrus by Day 19, whereas 80% of roIFNT-infused ewes maintained luteal-phase concentrations of progesterone through Day 32. In conclusion, IFNT is released from the uterus into the uterine vein and acts through an endocrine mechanism to induce ISGs in the CL and delay luteolysis.
Biology of Reproduction 04/2010; 82(4):725-35. DOI:10.1095/biolreprod.109.079467 · 3.32 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Description-An 11-year-old Quarter Horse stallion was admitted for intermittent hemospermia of 4 years' duration.
A linear vertical defect had been detected endoscopically following multiple episodes of hemospermia on the caudodorsal convex surface of the urethra at the level of the ischial arch.
When sexual rest alone did not result in complete healing of the urethral defect, a subischial urethrotomy and buccal mucosal urethroplasty were performed. The surgical site healed without complication. Four months of sexual rest was recommended after surgery. Repeat endoscopy at 4 months allowed inspection of the urethral graft site. Following endoscopic examination, resumption of semen collection was recommended on the basis of the apparent healing at the urethral defect site. Hemospermia did not reoccur following surgical repair.
Buccal mucosal urethroplasty resulted in a favorable outcome in a stallion with recurrent hemospermia. Buccal mucosal urethroplasty may be a useful surgical option in stallions that have hemospermia secondary to a urethral defect and do not heal with sexual rest alone.
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 11/2009; 235(10):1212-5. DOI:10.2460/javma.235.10.1212 · 1.56 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is increasing evidence that the corpus luteum has an important role in regulating its own demise. A series of experiments was performed to study the effects of luteal concentrations of progesterone on the functions of steroidogenic luteal cells. In the first experiment, steroidogenic small luteal cells (SLCs) were separated from endothelial cells, and it was determined that it was the SLCs that contained receptors for oxytocin. Treatment with progesterone (95 muM) for as little as 1 h decreased (P < 0.05) the percentage of SLCs responding to oxytocin (10 muM) with an increase in intracellular concentrations of calcium, and this effect continued for the duration of the experiment. In a second experiment, the response to oxytocin was increased (P < 0.05) by 3 h (but not 1 h) following progesterone removal, with a further increase by 16 h. The ability of 1 muM prostaglandin F(2 alpha) (PGF(2 alpha)) to increase intracellular concentrations of calcium was also decreased (P < 0.05) by progesterone treatment. By 3 h following removal of progesterone, the percentage of steroidogenic large luteal cells (LLCs) responding to PGF(2 alpha) was increased and not different from that observed in cells 16 h after progesterone removal. Finally, cyclodextrins (methyl-beta cyclodextrin [M beta CD]) were used to remove cholesterol from the plasma membrane of luteal cells, and M beta CD loaded with cholesterol was used to put cholesterol back into the plasma membrane of progesterone-treated cells. Treatment with M beta CD reduced (P < 0.05) the responsiveness of SLCs to oxytocin and LLCs to PGF(2 alpha). Use of cholesterol-loaded M beta CD returned the responsiveness of both SLCs and LLCs treated with progesterone to that observed in vehicle (no progesterone)-treated controls. In summary, intraluteal concentrations of progesterone inhibit the ability of oxytocin to increase intracellular concentrations of calcium in SLCs and the ability of PGF(2 alpha) to increase intracellular concentrations of calcium in LLCs. The highest concentration of progesterone appears to act by influencing cholesterol content of the luteal cell membranes.
Biology of Reproduction 10/2009; 82(2):282-8. DOI:10.1095/biolreprod.109.079970 · 3.32 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Zonadhesin is a rapidly evolving protein in the sperm acrosome that confers species specificity to sperm-zona pellucida adhesion. Though structural variation in zonadhesin likely contributes to its species-specific function, the protein has not previously been characterized in organisms capable of interbreeding. Here we compared properties of zonadhesin in several animals, including the horse (Equus caballus), donkey (E. asinus), and Grevy's zebra (E. grevyi) to determine if variation in zonadhesin correlates with ability of gametes to cross-fertilize. Zonadhesin localized to the apical acrosomes of spermatozoa from all three Equus species, similar to its localization in other animals. Likewise, in horse and donkey testis, zonadhesin was detected only in germ cells, first in the acrosomal granule of round spermatids and then in the developing acrosomes of elongating spermatids. Among non-Equus species, D3-domain polypeptides of mature, processed zonadhesin varied markedly in size and detergent solubility. However, zonadhesin D3-domain polypeptides in horse, donkey, and zebra spermatozoa exhibited identical electrophoretic mobility and detergent solubility. Equus zonadhesin D3-polypeptides (p110/p80 doublet) were most similar in size to porcine and bovine zonadhesin D3-polypeptides (p105). Sequence comparisons revealed that the horse zonadhesin precursor's domain content and arrangement are similar to those of zonadhesin from other large animals. Partial sequences of horse and donkey zonadhesin were much more similar to each other (>99% identity) than they were to orthologous sequences of human, pig, rabbit, and mouse zonadhesin (52%-72% identity). We conclude that conservation of zonadhesin D3-polypeptide properties correlates with ability of Equus species to interbreed.
Biology of Reproduction 09/2009; 82(2):413-21. DOI:10.1095/biolreprod.109.077891 · 3.32 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Irreversible damage occurs to spermatozoal membranes, during the phase transition, when spermatozoa are cooled from room temperature to 5 degrees C. Some of this damage can be ameliorated by adding cholesterol to the membrane, thereby altering membrane lipid composition. Adding cholesterol-loaded cyclodextrins (CLCs) to stallion spermatozoa prior to freezing, increases cell cryosurvival. However, the fertilizing potential of CLC-treated stallion spermatozoa is unknown. To address this, experiments were conducted which evaluated the ability of CLC-treated stallion spermatozoa to capacitate, acrosome react, and bind to the zona pellucida in vitro, and to fertilize oocytes in vivo. When CLC-treated cryopreserved stallion spermatozoa were treated with various agents to induce capacitation and the acrosome reaction (AR), dilauroylphosphatidylcholine (PC-12) and lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) induced the AR in control cells (62% and 55%, respectively) but not in CLC-treated cells (17% and 14%, respectively, P<0.05). However, the calcium ionophore A23187 induced the AR in both control- and CLC-treated cells equally well (39%, P>0.05). Control- and CLC-treated stallion spermatozoa bound to ZP of cattle oocytes equally well (0.44+/-0.16 vs. 0.25+/-0.09, respectively; P>0.05). In addition, the fertility rates of mares inseminated with control- and CLC-treated sperm were similar (P>0.05).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recombinant equine luteinizing hormone (reLH) was evaluated for its ability to stimulate production of progesterone in cell lines from three species including murine Leydig tumor (MA-10), equine granulosal, and ovine small luteal cells (SLC). The response to reLH was compared with that obtained with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), equine chorionic gonadotropin, ovine luteinizing hormone, and equine luteinizing hormone (eLH). Media were collected hourly for 6 hours and assayed for progesterone content through radioimmunoassay. In MA-10 cells, production of progesterone was stimulated above baseline by reLH and hCG (P < .05). Ovine SLC responded to treatment with eLH, reLH, ovine luteinizing hormone, and hCG by increasing production of progesterone above that stimulated by vehicle control (P < .05). Production of progesterone in equine granulosal cells was maximally stimulated by treatment with hCG (P < .05), followed by reLH and eLH (P < .05). In conclusion, reLH elicited a progesterone response in MA-10, ovine SLC, and equine granulosal cells. Thus, reLH stimulates the production of progesterone in cell lines from three species.