Article

Mice generated by in vitro fertilization exhibit vascular dysfunction and shortened life span

The Journal of clinical investigation (Impact Factor: 13.22). 11/2013; 123(12). DOI: 10.1172/JCI68943
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Children conceived by assisted reproductive technologies (ART) display a level of vascular dysfunction similar to that seen in children of mothers with preeclamspia. The long-term consequences of ART-associated vascular disorders are unknown and difficult to investigate in healthy children. Here, we found that vasculature from mice generated by ART display endothelial dysfunction and increased stiffness, which translated into arterial hypertension in vivo. Progeny of male ART mice also exhibited vascular dysfunction, suggesting underlying epigenetic modifications. ART mice had altered methylation at the promoter of the gene encoding eNOS in the aorta, which correlated with decreased vascular eNOS expression and NO synthesis. Administration of a deacetylase inhibitor to ART mice normalized vascular gene methylation and function and resulted in progeny without vascular dysfunction. The induction of ART-associated vascular and epigenetic alterations appeared to be related to the embryo environment; these alterations were possibly facilitated by the hormonally stimulated ovulation accompanying ART. Finally, ART mice challenged with a high-fat diet had roughly a 25% shorter life span compared with control animals. This study highlights the potential of ART to induce vascular dysfunction and shorten life span and suggests that epigenetic alterations contribute to these problems.

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Available from: Daniel Fuster, Nov 10, 2015
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    • "Additionally, there are recent reports suggesting that animals generated by IVF exhibit vascular dysfunction later in life and shortened lifespan in general. It has been proposed that stress associated with ART in vitro procedures is most likely responsible for this phenomenon (Rexhaj et al., 2013). Removal of an egg from its natural environment (the follicle) and exposure to in vitro conditions is a considerable stress (Khosla et al., 2001). "
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    ABSTRACT: Study question: Could drugs targeting ATP-sensitive K(+) (KATP) channels prevent any spontaneous increase in intracellular Ca(2+) that may occur in human metaphase II (MII) oocytes under in vitro conditions? Summary answer: Pinacidil, a KATP channel opener, and glibenclamide, a KATP channel blocker, prevent a spontaneous increase in intracellular Ca(2+) in human MII oocytes. What is known already: The quality of the oocyte and maintenance of this quality during in vitro processing in the assisted reproductive technology (ART) laboratory is of critical importance to successful embryo development and a healthy live birth. Maintenance of Ca(2+) homeostasis is crucial for cell wellbeing and increased intracellular Ca(2+) levels is a well-established indicator of cell stress. Study design, size, duration: Supernumerary human oocytes (n = 102) collected during IVF/ICSI treatment that failed to fertilize were used from October 2013 to July 2015. All experiments were performed on mature (MII) oocytes. Dynamics of intracellular Ca(2+) levels were monitored in oocytes in the following experimental groups: (i) Control, (ii) Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO; used to dissolve pinacidil, glibenclamide and 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP)), (iii) Pinacidil, (iv) Glibenclamide, (v) DNP: an inhibitor of oxidative phosphorylation, (vi) Pinacidil and DNP and (vii) Glibenclamide and DNP. Participants/materials/settings/methods: Oocytes were collected under sedation as part of routine treatment at an assisted conception unit from healthy women (mean ± SD) age 34.1 ± 0.6 years, n = 41. Those surplus to clinical use were donated for research. Oocytes were loaded with Fluo-3 Ca(2+)-sensitive dye, and monitored by laser confocal microscopy for 2 h at 10 min intervals. Time between oocyte collection and start of Ca(2+) monitoring was 80.4 ± 2.1 h. Main results and the role of chance: Intracellular levels of Ca(2+) increased under in vitro conditions with no deliberate challenge, as shown by Fluo-3 fluorescence increasing from 61.0 ± 11.8 AU (AU = arbitrary units; n = 23) to 91.8 ± 14.0 AU (n = 19; P < 0.001) after 2 h of monitoring. Pinacidil (100 µM) inhibited this increase in Ca(2+) (85.3 ± 12.3 AU at the beginning of the experiment, 81.7 ± 11.0 AU at the end of the experiment; n = 13; P = 0.616). Glibenclamide (100 µM) also inhibited the increase in Ca(2+) (74.7 ± 10.6 AU at the beginning and 71.8 ± 10.9 AU at the end of the experiment; n = 13; P = 0.851. DNP (100 mM) induced an increase in intracellular Ca(2+) that was inhibited by glibenclamide (100 µM; n = 9) but not by pinacidil (100 µM; n = 5). Limitations, reasons for caution: Owing to clinical and ethical considerations, it was not possible to monitor Ca(2+) in MII oocytes immediately after retrieval. MII oocytes were available for our experimentation only after unsuccessful IVF or ICSI, which was, on average, 80.4 ± 2.1 h (n = 102 oocytes) after the moment of retrieval. As the MII oocytes used here were those that were not successfully fertilized, it is possible that they may have been abnormal with impaired Ca(2+) homeostasis and, furthermore, the altered Ca(2+) homeostasis might have been associated solely with the protracted incubation. Wider implications of the findings: These results show that maintenance of oocytes under in vitro conditions is associated with intracellular increase in Ca(2+), which can be counteracted by drugs targeting KATP channels. As Ca(2+) homeostasis is crucial for contributing to a successful outcome of ART, these results suggest that KATP channel openers and blockers should be tested as drugs for improving success rates of ART. Study funding/competing interests: University of Dundee, MRC (MR/K013343/1, MR/012492/1), NHS Tayside. Funding NHS fellowship (Dr Sarah Martins da Silva), NHS Scotland. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
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