During early gestation, hormonal events associated with corpora lutea formation and embryonic synthesis of proteins, prostaglandins, and steroids result in synthesis and release of endometrial secretory products into the uterine lumen. The embryo, inherently and in response to secretory products of the uterus, develops and grows. However, considerable embryonic mortality occurs when uterine secretions become altered in such a manner that they are asynchronous to the developing embryo. Factors that advance or retard development of the uterus and embryo have been utilized to document utero-embryonic asynchrony, and it has been observed that the uterus will not "wait" for embryos to become synchronous. However, the reverse is possible: embryonic development can be accelerated or decelerated. Furthermore within the uterus, localized areas might also exist that favor development of some embryos at the expense of others. This review will consider causes of utero-embryonic asynchrony and offer models of embryonic loss associated with an asynchronous environment in cattle, sheep, and swine.
We have studied the distribution of histochemically detectable alkaline phosphatase in cultures of seminiferous tubule fragments and of peritubular cells from prepubertal rats. The same material also was immunohistochemically evaluated for the presence of desmin-containing intermediate filaments. The comparative analysis of alkaline phosphatase and desmin positivity shows that alkaline phosphatase histochemistry selectively detects desmin-containing contractile cells in tubular and peritubular cell cultures. We propose alkaline phosphatase as a novel marker for myoid cells that can be of help in screening, defining, and eventually standardizing the exact composition of peritubular cell cultures, a model that is of increasing interest in the study of cellular interactions in the testis.
This study provides quantitative information on the testes of seasonally breeding golden hamsters during active and regressed states of gonadal activity. Seminiferous tubules occupied 92.5% of testis volume in adult gonadally active animals. Leydig cells constituted 1.4% of the testicular volume. The mean volume of an individual Leydig cell was 1092 microns 3, and each testis contained about 25.4 million Leydig cells. The volume of an average Sertoli cell nucleus during stage VII-VIII of the cycle was 502 microns 3. A gram of hamster testis during the active state of gonadal activity contained 44.5 million Sertoli cells, and the entire testis contained approximately 73.8 million Sertoli cells. Testes of the hamsters exposed to short photoperiods for 12-13 wk displayed a 90% reduction in testis volume that was associated with a decrease in the volume of seminiferous tubules (90.8% reduction), tubular lumena (98.8%), interstitium (72.7%), Leydig cell compartment (79.3%), individual Leydig cells (69.7%), Leydig cell nuclei (50.0%), blood vessels (85.5%), macrophages (68.9%), and Sertoli cell nuclei (34.1%). The diameter (61.1%) and the length (36.8%) of the seminiferous tubules were also decreased. Although the number of Leydig cells per testis was significantly lower (p less than 0.02) after short-photoperiod exposure, the number of Sertoli cells per testis remained unchanged. The individual Sertoli cell in gonadally active hamsters accommodated, on the average, 2.27 pre-leptotene spermatocytes, 2.46 pachytene spermatocytes, and 8.17 round spermatids; the corresponding numbers in the regressed testes were 0.96, 0.20, and 0.04, respectively. The striking differences in the testicular structure between the active and regressed states of gonadal activity follow photoperiod-induced changes in endocrine function and suggest that the golden hamster may be used as a model to study structure-function relationships in the testis.
Isolated Sertoli cells were cultured on MatrigelTM-coated Millipore filters in bicameral chambers. The Sertoli cells form confluent epithelial sheets that, by virtue of the Sertoli cell tight junctions, form transepithelial permeability barriers between the apical and basal domains of the cells. These Sertoli cells secrete metabolically labeled proteins in a polarized manner. Three peptides, P1 (pI = 4.5-5.0, MW = 70,000), P2 (pI = 4.5-5.0, MW = 50,000), and P3 (pI = 4.0-4.7, MW = 34,000) are secreted apically from the epithelial sheets of Sertoli cells and are not found in basal secretions from the same Sertoli cells. Pachytene spermatocyte-conditioned medium contains proteins released from the germ cells that are uniquely different from the Sertoli cell-secreted proteins. Addition of the pachytene spermatocyte-conditioned medium to the apical reservoir of the bicameral chambers over an epithelial sheet of Sertoli cells stimulated the synthesis and secretion of total protein, transferrin, and specifically induced peptides S1 and S2 from Sertoli cells. As controls, conditioned medium from 3T3 fibroblasts and round spermatids did not stimulate the Sertoli cells. Hence, the ability of pachytene spermatocyte proteins to induce specific Sertoli cell secretion indicates that the pachytene spermatocytes are able to influence their surrounding milieu, and provides further support to the concept of a paracrine interaction between germ cells and Sertoli cells during spermatogenesis.
The present study tested the hypothesis that the nocturnal melatonin rhythm in the fetal sheep results from transfer across the placenta of melatonin from maternal circulation. Pregnant ewes were exposed to an artificial reverse photoperiod at about 100 days gestation (n = 6; lights on 10 h, 2200-0800 h PST). This treatment tested for entrainment in the ewe and its fetus of the 24-h pattern of melatonin production from the pineal gland. Other ewes were pinealectomized at 55 days post-breeding (n = 6), and similarly treated. Catheters were implanted and blood samples were collected between 117 and 142 days gestation at two 48-h periods, about every 0.5-4 h, to assess the pattern of melatonin in maternal and fetal circulations. In pineal-intact ewes and their fetuses, melatonin rhythms conformed to the reverse photoperiod, i.e. plasma melatonin concentrations were relatively low during the light period and significantly increased for the duration of darkness. In contrast, maternal pinealectomy abolished the melatonin rhythms in both the ewe and fetus; melatonin concentrations remained at or below the limits of detection. Pineal-intact sheep gave birth about 139 +/- 2 days (mean +/- SE, n = 4) at 1915 +/- 0.7 h and pinealectomized ewes (n = 5 of 6) lambed at 149 +/- 2 days at 0424 +/- 0.5 h. Finally, in lambs (n = 3) born to pinealectomized ewes, typical melatonin rhythms were present within the first week of life. The findings indicate that the maternal pineal gland is responsible for the 24-h pattern of melatonin in the ewe and its fetus during the last trimester of pregnancy.
Effect of in vitro heat stress on protein and prostaglandin synthesis and secretion by bovine conceptuses and endometrium was examined. Conceptuses (n = 11) and endometrium (n = 10) obtained on Day 17 of pregnancy were cultured at thermoneutral (39 degrees C, 24 h) or heat stress (39 degrees C, 6 h; 43 degrees C, 18 h) temperatures in medium supplemented with L-[4,5-3H]leucine (100 microCi) and arachidonic acid (10 micrograms/ml). Radiolabeled protein secreted into culture medium increased with time in both groups. Heat stress reduced (p less than 0.001) incorporation of [3H]leucine into intracellular and secreted proteins by conceptuses but did not alter incorporation of [3H]leucine by endometrium. In particular, heat stress reduced by 72% the secretion of bovine trophoblast protein-1, the conceptus polypeptide believed to cause extension of luteal lifespan. Two-dimensional, sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis indicated that heat stress altered the array of proteins in endometrial and conceptus tissues, as evidenced by the induction of "heat-shock proteins." Endometrial secretion of prostaglandin F (p less than 0.001) and conceptus secretion of prostaglandin E2 (p less than 0.05) increased in response to heat stress. Sensitivity of bovine conceptuses and endometrium to heat stress in vitro suggests that infertility associated with maternal heat stress may be caused, partially by alterations in signals required for maintenance of the corpus luteum during early pregnancy.
Hamster oviducts in culture incorporate [35S]-methionine into secretory proteins. One of these proteins is immunoprecipitated by a monoclonal antibody specific to an antigen found in oviductal oocytes but not in ovarian oocytes. This antigen, called oviductin, is progressively added to the oocyte during its transit through the oviduct. Oviductin migrates as a diffuse band with a molecular mass between 160 and 250 kDa on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis under reducing conditions. The electrophoretic behavior of this protein suggests the presence of polysaccharide side chains. Chemical deglycosylation causes a decrease in molecular mass and removes the antigenic determinant originally present on the glycoprotein. By using the radiation inactivation method, the molecular mass of the core protein has been found to be approximately 44 kDa. These results indicate that the oviduct is an actual site of synthesis of the oviductin. This glycoprotein contains a high proportion of sugar residues, which account for antigenic determinant recognized by the monoclonal antibody.
This study was undertaken to examine the factors that may affect the numbers and motility patterns of spermatozoa at the site of fertilization. The contents of the oviductal ampullae of previously mated cycling or superovulated immature rats were examined microscopically. We determined whether spermatozoa were free or associated with cells and whether they exhibited hyperactivated motility, forward progressive motility, or were immotile. These data were correlated with the percentage of fertilized eggs. In addition, the beat pattern of hyperactivated spermatozoa was characterized by using high-speed video microscopy. At the time when half of the eggs were fertilized, ampullae of cycling rats contained an average of less than one motile spermatozoon per ampulla. Most of these motile spermatozoa were hyperactivated. About half of these were free in the ampulla and about half were in the cumulus or zona pellucida. Hyperactivated spermatozoa displayed a nonprogressive whiplash wave form with a high amplitude recovery stroke similar to that described in hamster and guinea pig spermatozoa capacitated in vitro. In addition to motile spermatozoa, we counted about three immotile spermatozoa for each motile spermatozoon. In superovulated, immature female rats, we found about ten times as many spermatozoa in each category as in cycling rats. From our observations, it is clear that very few spermatozoa reach the ampulla of the oviduct. Furthermore our observations suggest that in cycling rats progressively swimming spermatozoa may become hyperactivated shortly after entering the ampulla of the oviduct. They probably enter the cumulus mass within a short time or become immotile.
Recombinant human interleukin-1 (IL-1) inhibits the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)-induced development of luteinizing hormone (LH) receptors and suppresses progesterone secretion in cultured rat granulosa cells. Since activation of adenylate cyclase by FSH is considered to be the primary second messenger system responsible for differentiation of granulosa cells, we examined whether IL-1 could alter the FSH, cholera toxin, or forskolin-induced accumulation of cyclic adenosine 3', 5'-monophosphate (cAMP) from these cells. In addition, we sought to determine if IL-1 could influence differentiation induced by the cAMP analog, 8-bromo cAMP. Cells collected from ovaries of immature, diethylstilbestrol-treated rats were stimulated to differentiate by addition of FSH, cholera toxin, forskolin, or 8-bromo cAMP to the cultures. IL-1 or interleukin-2 (IL-2) was added to some of the tubes, and the primary cultures were incubated for various periods of time. At the end of the culture, the tubes were centrifuged, the medium was saved for progesterone and cAMP radioimmunoassay, and the cells were assayed for specific 125I-human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) binding to determine the number of LH receptors. In the presence of FSH, IL-1, at a dose as small as 5 ng/ml, but not IL-2, significantly inhibited LH receptor formation and suppressed progesterone secretion in a dose-related manner. IL-1 also significantly suppressed FSH-induced cAMP accumulation after 72 h of incubation but did not appear to do so in a dose-related fashion. In the presence of FSH, IL-1 did not significantly alter the protein content of granulosa cells at the end of culture. During stimulation of granulosa cells with cholera toxin, forskolin, or 8-bromo cAMP, IL-1 significantly reduced LH receptor formation compared to that observed in the absence of IL-1. However, in contrast to IL-1 in the presence of FSH, IL-1 significantly augmented the forskolin-induced secretion of progesterone and accumulation of cAMP after 72 h at subsaturating doses of forskolin. Thus, IL-1 appeared to inhibit forskolin-induced and cholera toxin-induced formation of LH receptors even when cAMP levels were elevated. Similar to forskolin, 8-bromo cAMP-stimulated progesterone secretion was significantly enhanced by IL-1, but LH receptor formation was inhibited. Over a 72-h time course at single doses of FSH or forskolin, IL-1 did not affect cAMP accumulation until 48 h of culture, at which time IL-1 significantly suppressed FSH-induced, but augmented forskolin-induced, accumulation of cAMP.
Previous work from our laboratory has shown that during the process of nuclear occupancy of the progesterone receptor complex (1-2 h), nuclear estradiol receptors of the anterior pituitary are depleted. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the depletion of nuclear estradiol receptors by progesterone had functional biological significance. The ovariectomized (26 days of age) immature rat was used as the model for analysis of this question. The ability of estradiol to release prolactin from the anterior pituitary was the function chosen to determine the biological significance of the progesterone and estradiol interactions. In response to estradiol exposure (2 micrograms/rat), prolactin release reached peak values from 8 h to 12 h and returned to control levels by 24 h. A second injection of estradiol 13 h after the initial injection stimulated a second increase in serum prolactin at 25 h. This model of two injections of estradiol 13 h apart served to provide adequate levels of anterior pituitary progesterone receptors and elevated serum prolactin levels upon which superimposed progestin modulation could be examined. A single injection of progesterone (0.8 mg/kg BW) 1 h before the second estradiol injection blocked the increase in serum prolactin. This action was a receptor-mediated event because progesterone had no effect without estrogen priming or when the progesterone antagonist RU486 was used. Finally, when the interval between the progesterone and second estradiol injection was extended to 4 h, a time period when progesterone does not deplete pituitary nuclear estrogen receptors, the estrogen-induced increase in serum prolactin was not blocked.