Differences in embryonic development in sensitive and resistant matings to pregnancy block stimuli in mice

Konkuk University, Sŏul, Seoul, South Korea
Reproduction (Cambridge, England) (Impact Factor: 3.17). 10/2003; 126(3):327-35. DOI: 10.1530/rep.0.1260327
Source: PubMed


Pregnancy block from exposure to foreign male mouse pheromones is sensitive to both male and female mating strain, as well as the foreign male pheromone-producing strain. Incidence of pregnancy block by male pheromones in mice is different depending on the combination of females, stud males and stimulus males. BALB/cA females mated with BALB/cA males showed a 100% pregnancy block when exposed to males of the DDK strain (Chung et al., 1997). In contrast, BALB/cA females mated with males of dissimilar strain show high rates of pregnancy even if they are exposed to DDK males; this difference is thought to be due to the difference in viability of embryos (Chung et al., 1999). The present study investigated how development of BALB/cA and F1 embryos differ under the influence of pregnancy block stimuli. F1 embryos had significantly higher numbers of cells than did the BALB/cA embryos (P<0.05) at day 3 of pregnancy after exposure to DDK males or after bromocriptine (dopamine agonist, 4 mg kg(-1), i.p.) treatment. Histological observation after bromocriptine treatment revealed that: (i) on day 4 of pregnancy, BALB/cA embryos tended to form a large blastocoel, but showed abnormalities such as degeneration of primitive endoderm and depression of the outer trophoblast-distal endoderm layer at the periphery of the inner cell mass (ICM) or detachment of the ICM from the outer layer. In contrast, 60-70% of F1 embryos were normal late blastocysts and incipient egg cylinders, but 28-40% of early blastocysts were degenerating; and (ii) day 5 BALB/cA embryos were in the range from incipient egg cylinder with a large proamniotic cavity to ectoplacental cone only, but their proximal endoderm and trophoblast-distal endoderm layer were degenerating. In contrast, the F1 embryos were mostly at the egg cylinder stage and maintained normal structure except for occasional enlargement of the developing yolk sac cavity. These results indicate that the lining of the inner surface of trophoblast by distal endoderm layer may be more firmly established and that the inner environment for development of F1 embryos may be more effectively maintained, thereby making them more resistant to deleterious influences due to pregnancy block stimuli than are BALB/cA embryos.

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    • "wild horses (Equus caballus) (Berger, 1983), lions (Panthera leo) (Bertram, 1975), or alpine marmots (Marmota marmota) (Hacklander & Arnold, 1999). While the effect is well documented and its physiology well studied (Yamazaki et al., 1983,1986; Rajendren & Dominic, 1993; de Catanzaro et al., 1995; Coopersmith & Lenington, 1996; Zacharias et al., 2000; Brennan & Peele, 2003; Chung et al., 2003; Peele et al., 2003), its functional significance is still unclear. "
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    ABSTRACT: Confronting a recently mated female with a strange male can induce a pregnancy block ('Bruce effect'). The physiology of this effect is well studied, but its functional significance is still not fully understood. The 'anticipated infanticide hypothesis' suggests that the pregnancy block serves to avoid the cost of embryogenesis and giving birth to offspring that are likely to be killed by a new territory holder. Some 'compatible-genes sexual selection hypotheses' suggest that the likelihood of a pregnancy block is also dependent on the female's perception of the stud's and the stimulus male's genetic quality. We used two inbred strains of mice (C57BL/6 and BALB/c) to test all possible combinations of female strain, stud strain, and stimulus strain under experimental conditions (N(total) = 241 mated females). As predicted from previous studies, we found increased rates of pregnancy blocks if stud and stimulus strains differed, and we found evidence for hybrid vigour in offspring of between-strain mating. Despite the observed heterosis, pregnancies of within-strain matings were not more likely to be blocked than pregnancies of between-strain matings. A power analysis revealed that if we missed an existing effect (type-II error), the effect must be very small. If a female gave birth, the number and weight of newborns were not significantly influenced by the stimulus males. In conclusion, we found no support for the 'compatible-genes sexual selection hypotheses'.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2006 · Journal of Evolutionary Biology