Initially produced in Europe in 1958, metformin is still one of the most widely prescribed drugs to treat type II diabetes and other comorbidities associated with insulin resistance. Metformin has been shown to improve fertility outcomes in females with insulin resistance associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and in obese males with reduced fertility. Metformin treatment reinstates menstrual cyclicity, decreases the incidence of cesareans, and limits the number of premature births. Notably,metformin reduces steroid levels in conditions associated with hyperandrogenism (e.g., PCOS and precocious puberty) in females and improves fertility of adult men with metabolic syndrome through increased testosterone production. While the therapeutical use of metformin is considered to be safe, in the last 10 years some epidemiological studies have described phenotypic differences after prenatal exposure to metformin. The goals of this review are to briefly summarize the current knowledge on metformin focusing on its effects on the female and male reproductive organs, safety concerns, including the potential for modulating fetal imprinting via epigenetics.
Among calyptraeid gastropods, males become females as they get older, and egg capsules containing developing embryos are maintained beneath the mother's shell until the encapsulated embryos hatch. Crepipatella dilatata is an interesting biological model considering that is an estuarine species and thus periodically exposed to elevated environment-physiological pressures. Presently, there is not much information about the reproductive biology and brooding parameters of this gastropod. This paper describes field and laboratory observations monitoring sex changes, brooding frequencies, sizes of brooding females, egg mass characteristics, and embryonic hatching conditions. Our findings indicate that C. dilatata is a direct-developing protandric hermaphrodite, changing from male to female when individuals were between 18 and 20 mm in shell length. At our study site in Quempillen estuary, females were found to be brooding almost continuously throughout the year, having an average maximum of 85% of simultaneous brooding, with a short rest from April through June. No relationship was found between the number of capsules per egg mass and the size of the brooding female. However, capsule size and the number of embryos and nurse eggs were strongly related to female size. The offspring hatched with an average shell length > 1 mm. About 25% of the hatched capsules were found to contain both metamorphosed (juveniles) and non-metamorphosed (veliger) individuals. The sizes of the latter were < 1000 mu m. The length of hatching juveniles was inversely related to the number of individuals per capsule, which seems related to differences in the availability of nurse eggs per embryo. Although fecundity per reproductive event of this species is relatively low (maximum approx. 800 offspring per egg mass) compared with those of calyptraeid species showing mixed development, the overall reproductive potential of C. dilatata seems to be high considering that females can reproduce up to 5 times per year, protecting their encapsulated embryos from physical stresses until well-developed juveniles are released into the population, avoiding a dangerous pelagic period prior to metamorphosis.
Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs, between 30 and 150 m depth) are hypothesized to contribute to the recovery of degraded shallow reefs through sexually produced larvae (referred to as Deep Reef Refuge Hypothesis). In Okinawa, Japan, the brooder coral Seriatopora hystrix was reported to be locally extinct in a shallow reef while it was found abundant at a MCE nearby. In this context, S. hystrix represents a key model to test the Deep Reef Refuge Hypothesis and to understand the potential contribution of mesophotic corals to shallow coral reef recovery. However, the reproductive biology of mesophotic S. hystrix and its potential to recolonize shallow reefs is currently unknown. This study reports for the first time, different temporal scales of reproductive periodicity and larval settlement of S. hystrix from an upper mesophotic reef (40 m depth) in Okinawa. We examined reproductive seasonality, lunar, and circadian periodicity (based on polyp dissection, histology, and ex situ planula release observations) and larval settlement rates in the laboratory. Mesophotic S. hystrix reproduced mainly in July and early August, with a small number of planulae being released at the end of May, June and August. Compared to shallow colonies in the same region, mesophotic S. hystrix has a 4-month shorter reproductive season, similar circadian periodicity, and smaller planula size. In addition, most of the planulae settled rapidly, limiting larval dispersal potential. The shorter reproductive season and smaller planula size may result from limited energy available for reproduction at deeper depths, while the similar circadian periodicity suggests that this reproductive aspect is not affected by environmental conditions differing with depth. Overall, contribution of mesophotic S. hystrix to shallow reef rapid recovery appears limited, although they may recruit to shallow reefs through a multi-step process over a few generations or through random extreme mixing such as typhoons.
Proteomics, an interface of rapidly evolving advances in physics and biology, is rapidly developing and expanding its potential applications to molecular and cellular biology. Application of proteomics tools has contributed towards identification of relevant protein biomarkers that can potentially change the strategies for early diagnosis and treatment of several diseases. The emergence of powerful mass spectrometry-based proteomics technique has added a new dimension to the field of medical research in liver, heart diseases and certain forms of cancer. Most proteomics tools are also being used to study physiological and pathological events related to reproductive biology. There have been attempts to generate the proteomes of testes, sperm, seminal fluid, epididymis, oocyte, and endometrium from reproductive disease patients. Here, we have reviewed proteomics based investigations in humans over the last decade, which focus on delineating the mechanism underlying various reproductive events such as spermatogenesis, oogenesis, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, embryo development. The challenge is to harness new technologies like 2-DE, DIGE, MALDI-MS, SELDI-MS, MUDPIT, LC–MS etc., to a greater extent to develop widely applicable clinical tools in understanding molecular aspects of reproduction both in health and disease. ► Proteomics studies in the field of reproductive biology ► Molecular mechanism involved in physiological and pathological conditions in reproductive tissues/body fluids in normal and diseased state ► Newer studies to solve unanswered questions associated with pathology of disease and biomarker discovery using proteomics tools
The reproductive biology of albacore tuna, Thunnus alalunga, in the western Indian Ocean was examined through analysis of the sex ratio, spawning season, length-at-maturity (L-50), spawning frequency and fecundity. From 2013 to 2015, a total of 923 female and 867 male albacore were sampled. A bias in sex ratio was found in favor of females with fork length (L-F) < 100 cm. Using histological analyses and gonadosomatic index, spawning was found to occur between 10 degrees S and 30 degrees S, mainly to the east of Madagascar from October to January. Large females contributed more to reproduction through their longer spawning period compared to small individuals. The L-50 (mean standard error) of female albacore was estimated at 85.3 +/- 0.7 cm LF. Albacore spawn on average every 2.2 days within the spawning region and spawning months, from November to January. Batch fecundity ranged between 0.26 and 2.09 million oocytes and the relative batch fecundity (mean standard deviation) was estimated at 53.4 +/- 23.2 oocytes g(-1) of somatic-gutted weight. The study provides new information on the reproductive development and classification of albacore in the western Indian Ocean. The reproductive parameters will reduce uncertainty in current stock assessment models which will eventually assist the fishery to be sustainable for future generations.
Despite a plethora of exceptionally preserved trilobites, trilobite reproduction has remained a mystery. No previously described trilobite has unambiguous eggs or genitalia preserved. This study reports the first occurrence of in situ preserved eggs belonging to Triarthrus eatoni (Hall, 1838) trilobites from the Lorraine Group in upstate New York, USA. Like other exceptionally preserved trilobites from the Lorraine Group, the complete exoskeletons are replaced with pyrite. The eggs are spherical to elliptical in shape, nearly 200 mu m in size, and are clustered in the genal area of the cephalon. The fact that the eggs are smaller than the earliest-known trilobite ontogenetic (protaspis) stage suggests that trilobites may have had an unmineralized preliminary stage in their ontogeny, and that the protaspis shield formed only after hatching. The eggs are only visible ventrally with no dorsal brood pouch or recognized sexual dimorphism. The location of the eggs is consistent with where modern female horseshoe crabs release their unfertilized eggs from the ovarian network within their head. Trilobites likely released their gametes (eggs and sperm) through a genital pore of as-yet unknown location (likely near the posterior boundary of the head). If the T. eatoni reproductive biology is representative of other trilobites, they spawned with external fertilization, possibly the ancestral mode of reproduction for early arthropods. Because pyritization preferentially preserves the external rather than internal features of fossils, it is suggested that there is likely a bias in the fossil record toward the preservation of arthropods that brood eggs externally: arthropods that brood their eggs internally are unlikely to preserve any evidence of their mode of reproduction.
The extensive Early Jurassic continental strata of southern Africa have yielded an exceptional record of dinosaurs that includes scores of partial to complete skeletons of the sauropodomorph Massospondylus, ranging from embryos to large adults. In 1976 an incomplete egg clutch including in ovo embryos of this dinosaur, the oldest known example in the fossil record, was collected from a road-cut talus, but its exact provenance was uncertain. An excavation program at the site started in 2006 has yielded multiple in situ egg clutches, documenting the oldest known dinosaurian nesting site, predating other similar sites by more than 100 million years. The presence of numerous clutches of eggs, some of which contain embryonic remains, in at least four distinct horizons within a small area, provides the earliest known evidence of complex reproductive behavior including site fidelity and colonial nesting in a terrestrial vertebrate. Thus, fossil and sedimentological evidence from this nesting site provides empirical data on reproductive strategies in early dinosaurs. A temporally calibrated optimization of dinosaurian reproductive biology not only demonstrates the primary significance of the Massospondylus nesting site, but also provides additional insights into the initial stages of the evolutionary history of dinosaurs, including evidence that deposition of eggs in a tightly organized single layer in a nest evolved independently from brooding.
Reports of the increasing incidence of male infertility paired with decreasing semen quality have triggered studies on the effects of lifestyle and environmental factors on the male reproductive potential. There are numerous exogenous and endogenous factors that are able to induce excessive production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) beyond that of cellular antioxidant capacity, thus causing oxidative stress. In turn, oxidative stress negatively affects male reproductive functions and may induce infertility either directly or indirectly by affecting the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis and/or disrupting its crosstalk with other hormonal axes. This review discusses the important exogenous and endogenous factors leading to the generation of ROS in different parts of the male reproductive tract. It also highlights the negative impact of oxidative stress on the regulation and cross-talk between the reproductive hormones. It further describes the mechanism of ROS-induced derangement of male reproductive hormonal profiles that could ultimately lead to male infertility. An understanding of the disruptive effects of ROS on male reproductive hormones would encourage further investigations directed towards the prevention of ROS-mediated hormonal imbalances, which in turn could help in the management of male infertility.