[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In vitro produced bovine zygotes show substantial variation in the time required to complete the first cell cycle and in their in vitro development potential. A number of reports have highlighted the fact that the fastest developing embryos in vitro are most likely to be comparable with their in vivo counterparts. At 24 h after IVF, presumptive zygotes were cultured in droplets of synthetic oviduct fluid medium. Droplets were examined at regular intervals and all cleaved embryos at each time point were transferred into new droplets and cultured separately for the duration of the experiment. All uncleaved zygotes were returned to the incubator and re-examined at the successive time points until 48 h after insemination, at which time the remaining uncleaved oocytes were retained as a group. A representative number of day 7 blastocysts from zygotes that had cleaved by 30 or 36 h were transferred to synchronized recipients and pregnancy was diagnosed by ultrasonography at day 35. Glucose and glutamine metabolism was examined in zygotes and blastocysts and compared retrospectively with time of first cleavage. A representative number of blastocysts from each of the cleavage groups was sexed using PCR. Data were analysed by chi-squared and regression analysis. Development to the blastocyst stage decreased as the time from insemination to first cleavage increased (r = 0.97, P < 0.03). There was no difference in blastocyst hatching, number of blastocyst cells or pregnancy rate between the 30 and 36 h groups. The overall sex ratio was 62% males (n = 258, P < 0.0001) and was not different in the 30 and 36 h groups (61%, n = 155 versus 63%, n = 95, respectively). These results indicate that although time of first cleavage has a major influence on the probability of an embryo developing to the blastocyst stage, once that stage is attained, subsequent developmental characteristics are unrelated to the time of first cleavage.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Serum, gonadotrophins, growth factors, and steroid hormones stimulate the in vitro maturation (IVM) of competent oocytes, acting, directly or indirectly, upon the adenylate cyclase pathway to produce the intracellular messenger, cAMP. The intracellular levels of cAMP in cattle cumulus-oocyte complexes (COC) were manipulated by adding to the collection and maturation media invasive adenylate cyclase (iAC), a toxin produced by the bacterium, Bordetella pertussis. High concentrations of iAC (1 or 5 microgram/ml) in the maturation medium inhibited the resumption of meiosis, while low concentrations (0.1 or 0.01 microgram/ml) resulted in high rates of maturation to the MII stage (92.6 +/- 2.5 and 98.5 +/- 1.4% respectively). The same low concentrations of iAC in the maturation medium resulted in rates of development to the blastocyst stage 8 days post insemination (30.1 +/- 4.2 and 45.1 +/- 3.9%, respectively), which were either not different, or significantly better, than those obtained after IVM in medium supplemented only with serum and gonadotrophins (36.1 +/- 2.9%). Finally, the addition of 0.1 microgram/ml iAC and 0.5 mM 3-isobutyl 1-methylxanthine (IBMX) in the collection medium significantly improved the blastocyst rate when IVM was performed in control medium or medium supplemented with 0.01 microgram/ml iAC (31.9 +/- 5.5 vs. 12.1 +/- 1.6 and 45.5 +/- 2.9 vs. 19.1 +/- 2.3% respectively). It is concluded that the maintenance of an optimal intracellular concentration of cAMP before and during IVM ensures a high developmental competence of bovine oocytes matured in medium without serum and hormones. Mol. Reprod. Dev. 54:86-91,1999.
No preview · Article · Sep 1999 · Molecular Reproduction and Development
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The development of the preimplantation embryo seems morphologically very simple, and embryologists previously assumed that an embryo that developed to the blastocyst stage was fully capable of normal development after transfer to the uterus of a recipient female. This complacency was disturbed by reports that exposure of early embryos to mutagens such as methylnitrosourea led to fetal abnormalities, decreased birth rates, and decreased life-span. Even more disturbing are recent reports that culture of early embryos in supposedly benign conditions can adversely affect their subsequent development. Techniques have been developed for the production of cattle and sheep embryos by in-vitro fertilization and by cloning. Such embryos must be cultured for several days before they can be transferred, and, in some cases, this has been related to abortion, very high birthweight, physical abnormalities and peri-natal mortality of the calves and lambs. This syndrome may result from an unbalanced development of the trophoblast relative to the inner-cell mass, possibly related to the presence of serum, glucose, or ammonium in the culture medium. An analogous phenomenon has been observed in human in-vitro fertilization where babies from single pregnancies have below-normal birth-weight. There is also evidence to suggest that the in-vitro environment of the gametes before fertilization can affect subsequent embryonal and fetal development. Exposure of mouse oocytes to vitrification solutions has been shown to lead to fetal malformations, and treatment of bull sperm with glutathione improves early embryo development. The common thread in these diverse observations is that development can be affected by events that occur long before any defect is apparent. Consequently, the production of a morphologically normal embryo is no guarantee that fetal development and post-natal life will be normal. This is of immediate concern in human reproductive medicine due to the increasing use of sperm injection for fertilization, and the emergence of in-vitro oocyte maturation. Further development and application of reproductive techniques would benefit from a toxicological evaluation of risk factors and exposure limits.
No preview · Article · Feb 1998 · Archives of toxicology. Supplement. = Archiv für Toxikologie. Supplement
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The effects of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) on the maturation and subsequent development of cattle oocytes in vitro were evaluated in three experiments. Cumulus-oocyte complexes (COC) were collected from cattle ovaries and matured for 20-24 in control medium or in medium containing 50 ng EGF ml-1, 100 ng IGF-I ml-1, EGF + IGF-I, or 10% (v/V) fetal calf serum plus 0.1 i.u. human menopausal gonadotrophin ml-1 (hMG). In Expt 1, treatment with EGF + IGF-I stimulated cumulus expansion, the metabolism of pyruvate and glutamine, and nuclear maturation. In Expt 2, only the metabolic measurements from oocytes that reached metaphase II were considered, and EGF + IGF-I stimulated pyruvate metabolism to the same extent as serum + hMG. In Expt 3, the oocytes were fertilized after maturation culture, and the resultant embryos cultured for up to 8 days. The cleavage was greater in the EGF and EGF + IGF-I groups than in the controls but less than in the serum + hMG group. Moreover, the number of blastocyst cells at 7 days after insemination and the proportion of cleaved embryos that developed to the blastocyst stage by day 8 was greater in the serum + hMG group than in the control group indicating that maturation treatment can affect early embryonic development. In conclusion, EGF + IGF-I can stimulate cumulus expansion, oxidative metabolism, nuclear maturation and cleavage after fertilization of bovine oocytes in vitro. The relative effects of the treatments on oocyte pyruvate metabolism in Expts 1 and 2 generally paralleled their effects on cleavage and subsequent development in Expt 3, suggesting that mitochondrial function is related to developmental potential. Further investigation is required to determine which component(s) of serum or gonadotrophin treatment is responsible for the effects on subsequent embryonic development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to compare the development and metabolic activity of cattle embryos co-cultured with bovine oviductal cells or cultured in serum-free medium previously conditioned by bovine oviductal cells. Zygotes were produced by in vitro fertilization of oocytes from bovine ovaries obtained from an abattoir. Development to the four-cell stage occurred by 48 h after fertilization in both culture systems, but co-cultured embryos reached the 16-cell stage by 96 h, whereas those cultured in conditioned medium did not do so until 24 h later. Similarly, the morula and blastocyst stages were reached 24 h earlier in co-culture than in conditioned medium. There were significantly more cells in the blastocysts from co-culture (96.8 +/- 6.1 versus 56.7 +/- 3.3; P < or = 0.0001). The metabolism of glutamine did not differ between embryos cultured in the two systems, but the metabolism of glucose was significantly greater in embryos cultured in conditioned medium. The first significant increase in glucose metabolism occurred between the four-cell and the 16-cell stages in embryos cultured in conditioned medium, but occurred between the 16-cell and morula stages in the co-cultured embryos, such that the glucose metabolism was significantly greater at the 16-cell stage in embryos cultured in conditioned medium compared with co-cultured embryos (6.5 +/- 1.0 versus 1.5 +/- 0.4 pmol per embryo per 3 h, P < or = 0.0001). The concentration of glucose was significantly less, and that of lactate significantly greater, in co-culture medium than in conditioned medium.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Periovulatory gonadotrophin and steroid hormone profiles were compared between superovulated and unstimulated Holstein heifers. Treatment was induced in luteal-phase heifers with 8 injections of FSH (superovulated n=9) or saline (unstimulated n=3) given over 5 d. Both groups received 0.5 mg of cloprostenol (PG) with the sixth injection of FSH or saline to induce luteolysis. All animals were inseminated at estrus, and embryos were collected at Day 7 of gestation. Blood samples were taken hourly for 6 h after the morning injection of FSH (or saline) and then every 15 min for 3 h (from 1400 to 1700 h) on each of the 5 treatment days. Before PG, mean serum progesterone and estradiol concentrations were higher (P ≤ 0.05) and LH pulse frequency and amplitude were lower (P ≤ 0.05) in the superovulated than the unstimulated heifers. After PG, mean serum progesterone and estradiol concentrations were higher (P ≤ 0.05), LH pulse frequency and amplitude (P ≤ 0.001), and basal serum LH concentration (P ≤ 0.05) were lower in the superovulated than in the unstimulated heifers. After PG injection, the superovulated heifers had reduced FSH pulse amplitude compared with that before the injection (P ≤ 0.05). In the superovulated cows, the suppression of LH and FSH secretion was caused by the negative effects of higher concentrations of estradiol and progesterone in the hypothalamic-hypophysal axis. In the superovulated heifers, 30 h after PG treatment, serum estradiol concentration and LH pulse frequency were positively correlated with the number of CL, total number of embryos, and transferable number of embryos recovered (P ≤ 0.05).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Beginning on Day 10 or 11 of the estrous cycle, mature Holstein heifers were given a superovulatory regimen of twice-daily injections of porcine FSH, together with injections of PG with the fifth and sixth FSH injections. Every 12 h from 24 to 60 h after PG administration, the animals received im injections of different doses of the LH releasing hormone antagonist [N-Ac-D-Nal(2)(1), D-pCl-Phe(2), D-Trp(3), D-Arg(6), D-Ala(10)]-LHRH or vehicle. Follicular development was monitored by transrectal ultrasonography every 12 h from 24 to 120 h after PG administration. All animals were given hCG at 72 h after PG injection, and were artificially inseminated. At Day 7 of gestation, the corpora lutea were counted by ultrasonography, and embryos were collected by nonsurgical flushing of the uterus. Treatment with the antagonist resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in the amplitude of the LH surge and in delays in the time of occurrence of the LH surge, ovulation and the shift from estradiol to progesterone production. These results indicate that LHRH antagonists can be used to delay the LH surge and ovulation in superovulated heifers. This finding may be beneficial to studies in the superovulation of cattle.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: After maturation in vitro for 0, 6, 12, 18 or 24 h, the metabolism of radiolabelled glucose, glutamine, pyruvate and glycine by individual cattle oocytes was measured for 3 h. The metabolism of glucose through the Embden-Meyerhof (1.77-2.66 pmol per oocyte per 3 h) and pentose-phosphate (0.39-0.75 pmol per oocyte per 3 h) pathways was low and did not change over time. The oxidative metabolism of glucose carbon through the Krebs cycle was low throughout maturation, but increased significantly (P < or = 0.05) at 6 h (0.41 pmol per oocyte per 3 h) and 18 h (0.69 pmol per oocyte per 3 h). Pyruvate, glutamine and glycine metabolism in the Krebs cycle increased during culture. Pyruvate metabolism increased significantly from 0 h (17.3 pmol per oocyte per 3 h) to 6 h (23.3 pmol per oocyte per 3 h) and reached a maximum at 12 h (30.8 pmol per oocyte per 3 h). Glutamine metabolism was unchanged from 0 to 12 h (0.89 pmol per oocyte per 3 h), and then increased significantly at 18 h (2.25 pmol per oocyte per 3 h). Glycine metabolism increased significantly from 6 h (0.21 pmol per oocyte per 3 h) to 12 h (0.46 pmol per oocyte per 3 h) and reached a maximum at 18 h (0.68 pmol per oocyte per 3 h). The results suggest that oxidative metabolism increases, and is the major site of cellular energy production, during maturation of the cattle oocyte in vitro.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Superovulated Holstein heifers (n = 32) were given a depot injection of 500 mg recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) or vehicle at Day 4 of the estrous cycle (7 days before the first FSH injection); at Day 11, coincidentally with the first FSH injection; or at Day 15, the time of artificial insemination. Embryos were collected nonsurgically, and the number of corpora lutea was counted by ultrasonography at Day 7 after insemination. Blood samples were taken every second day, from Day 2 of the superovulatory cycle until the day of embryo collection, and were analyzed for progesterone, somatotropin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Somatotropin-treated heifers at Day 11 had a significantly higher mean number of corpora lutea than the controls (18.1 vs 13.4; P </= 0.05). Day 4 treatment tended to increase the mean number of corpora lutea (15.4; P <- 0.10), and significantly increased the overall percentage of transferable embryos (74.6 vs 58.6%; P </= 0.01). In the control animals, plasma IGF-1 was uncorrelated to somatotropin (P > 0.63), but it was negatively correlated with progesterone (P </= 0.01), suggesting that IGF-1 production in the superovulated heifer may be related to ovarian development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This report was commissioned by the Canadian government on the relevance of new techniques in animal embryology to the social, ethical and clinical applications of assisted human reproduction. It briefly describes the history of animal breeding, and the regulation of the female reproductive tract, ovulation and fertilization in laboratory and veterinary species. Embryo transfer is described in detail, including the synchronization of reproductive cycles, superovulation and embryo growth in vitro. Methods of experimental embryology, including bisection, sexing of spermatozoa and embryos, cloning and gene therapy are described. The relevance of these studies to human IVF are considered briefly.
No preview · Article · Feb 1993 · Human Reproduction
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The metabolism of radiolabelled glucose and glutamine was measured in individual cattle embryos produced by in vitro maturation and fertilization of oocytes, and culture with bovine oviductal epithelial cells. Metabolism of glucose through the pentose-phosphate pathway increased almost 15 times and the total metabolism of glucose 30 times, during development from the two-cell to the expanded blastocyst stage. The first marked increase in glucose metabolism did not occur until between the eight- and 16-cell stages, the time of activation of the embryonic genome. Conversely, the metabolism of glutamine was high in two- and four-cell embryos and then decreased to reach a minimum at the compacted morula to blastocyst stage, possibly because of degradation of maternally derived enzymes. Blastocyst expansion was accompanied by significant increases in the metabolism of glucose and glutamine, presumably reflecting the increased energy demands of Na(+)-K+ ATPase necessary for formation and maintenance of the blastocoel.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The metabolism of, and retention of radioactivity from, radiolabelled glucose, glutamine and pyruvate were measured in individual cattle embryos produced in vitro from the 2-cell to hatched blastocyst stage. Uptake was defined as the numeric sum of metabolism and retention of radiolabel. Glucose metabolism increased significantly between the 8- and 16-cell stages, but was accompanied by a much larger increase in glucose uptake. Consequently, the proportion of glucose uptake that was metabolized through the pentose-phosphate and Embden-Meyerhof pathways reached a minimum at those stages. From the compacted morula stage onward, the calculated uptake of [14C]glucose was only 25 to 33% of that calculated for [5-3H]glucose. This suggests that 66 to 75% of glucose carbon leaves the embryo, after metabolism to phosphoenolpyruvate, in some form other than CO2. Little or no glucose metabolism by the Krebs cycle could be detected at any stage. Both glutamine and pyruvate metabolism were relatively high at the 2- and 4-cell stages, declined to a minimum at the compacted morula stage and then increased with blastulation. Glutamine metabolism continued to increase with expansion and hatching of the blastocyst, but pyruvate metabolism did not. This suggest that, relative to the activity of the pathway from pyruvate to 2-oxoglutarate, the activity of the 2-oxoglutarate-to-oxaloacetate segment of the Krebs cycle is of increasing significance during expansion and hatching of the cattle blastocyst.
Preview · Article · Feb 1992 · Reproduction Fertility and Development
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Early embryo development requires the production and expenditure of large amounts of cellular energy for cell growth, division and differentiation. Consequently, information about energy metabolism is important for both fundamental and applied aspects of embryo biology. During early cleavage, the in-vitro development of embryos from a number of mammalian species is inhibited by glucose, hypoxanthina, and oxygen, and favoured by glutamine and antioxidants. The common factor in these effects may be oxygen radicals, which are severely detrimental to early embryo development. Glucose, hypoxanthine and oxygen can all increase the cellular production of oxygen radicals, while antioxidants can detoxify them. Glutamine metabolism can provide reducing equivalents for energy production and to counteract lipid peroxidation, under conditions where the metabolism of other substrates cannot. An understanding of the mechanisms of production and elimination of oxygen radicals in embryos may lead to significant improvements in the success of embryo culture and the practical techniques which depend on it.