Eight-cell embryos were recovered from mated golden hamsters that had been superovulated with pregnant mare's serum gonadotropin (PMSG) and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Embryos were cultured for 24 or 32 h in a defined medium (modified Tyrode's solution) designed for fertilization of hamster oocytes in vitro. This medium was supplemented in some experiments with amino acids (glutamine, phenylalanine, methionine and isoleucine) and with vitamins (Eagle's Minimum Essential Medium vitamin supplement). At the end of the culture period, the numbers of embryos developing to the blastocyst stage were recorded. In other experiments, the effects of varying the osmotic pressure (225, 250, 275 and 300 m0smol/kg) and the pH (6.8 and 7.4) of the culture medium on blastocyst formation were examined. A difference was found between the ability of early 8-cell embryos (approx. 54 h post-egg activation) and late 8-cell embryos (approx. 62 h post-egg activation) to develop in culture. In the unsupplemented culture medium, only 2% of early 8-cell embryos developed to the blastocyst stage compared with 22% of late 8-cell embryos. A marked effect of the four amino acids on development was found. In the presence of amino acids 36% of early 8-cell embryos developed into blastocysts (18-fold increase). The amino acids also increased the percentage of late 8-cell embryos that developed into blastocysts from 22% to 66%. These data suggest that an important metabolic change may occur in hamster embryos during a critical period at the 8-cell stage of development. No additional effect on development was observed when vitamins were included in the culture medium. No significant effect of either osmotic pressure of pH of the culture medium on development was found. When blastocysts formed from cultured 8-cell embryos were transferred surgically to pseudopregnant hamsters, about 25% developed into normal-looking fetuses and 5 normal-looking young were born, 4 of which have survived. These results represent an approach towards achieving complete preimplantation development of hamster embryos in vitro.
Loss of forward motility of rabbit epididymal spermatozoa in high K+ phosphate buffer is inhibited by taurine, hypotaurine, epinephrine and bovine serum albumin. Pyruvate and lactate also show this effect. The rate of lipid peroxidation in these spermatozoa, as measured by rate of formation of malondialdehyde, is also inhibited by these agents. A close linear correlation between percent inert spermatozoa and malondialdehyde was found, which was independent of the rate of peroxidation. Complete cessation of motility was observed at 0.5 nmol malondialdehyde/10(8) cells in the absence or presence of these agents, which is the same value found in other suspending media in a previous study [Alvarez and Storey (1982) Biol. Reprod. 27:1102-1108]. Albumin was the most effective agent in preventing loss of motility and inhibiting lipid peroxidation. Hypotaurine was the next most effective, followed by taurine, epinephrine, pyruvate and lactate. Hypotaurine reduces the amount of rate of superoxide production, as measured by the rate of reduction of acetylated ferricytochrome c by O(2), from rabbit sperm under these conditions and concomitantly reduces inactivation of the superoxide dismutase in these cells. Since superoxide seems to be the major inducer of lipid peroxidation in rabbit sperm, the protective effect of hypotaurine, which should be readily permeant to the plasma membrane, may be ascribed to scavenging of intracellular superoxide. The mechanism of the protective action of albumin is not known. Rabbit epididymal spermatozoa lose motility over time if Ca2+ or Mg2+ are omitted from the suspending medium.
Analysis of 40 semen samples collected by electroejaculation from 18 cheetahs revealed no major differences in seminal traits among Transvaal, South West (Namibia) or hybrid (Transvaal X South West) males. However, mean spermatozoal concentration (14.5 X 10(6) spermatozoa/ml of ejaculate) and percent motility (54.0%) were less in cheetahs than in domestic cats (147.0 X 10(6) spermatozoa/ml of ejaculate, 77.0% motility) subjected to the same electroejaculation regimen. On the average, cheetah ejaculates contained 71.0% morphologically abnormal spermatozoa compared to 29.1% aberrant spermatozoal forms in the domestic cat. These results indicate that seminal characteristics in the cheetah are markedly inferior compared to the domestic cat, particularly with respect to the incidence of pleiomorphic spermatozoa. Because a recent parallel study demonstrates that the cheetah lacks genetic variation, it appears likely that spermatozoal abnormalities are a genetic consequence of genomic homozygosity characteristic of this endangered species.
These experiments were designed to define and optimize the efficiency of a system whereby bovine oocytes could be fertilized in vitro. The frequency of ova penetrated and the stage of fertilization were the end points examined. All experiments utilized cumulus-oocyte complexes from 1- to 5-mm follicles which were matured in vitro prior to fertilization. The experiments were designed to examine the effects of the following factors on fertilization: 1) pretreatment of sperm with ionomycin (a Ca++ ionophore), 2) preincubation of sperm at a high concentration and the presence of hypotaurine and epinephrine during fertilization, 3) the use of either follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) or cAMP for the induction of cumulus expansion prior to fertilization, and 4) the need for the presence of cumulus cells during fertilization. Sperm exposure to ionomycin or preincubation at high sperm concentrations was not necessary for fertilization. The presence of hypotaurine and epinephrine during fertilization improved (P less than 0.05) the quality of fertilization (i.e., higher frequencies of oocytes with both female and male pronuclei were observed). However, they did not increase the percentage of ova penetrated (P greater than 0.05). Fertilization frequencies were not different (P greater than 0.05) between oocytes with cumulus expansion induced by FSH or cAMP. However, the use of either treatment resulted in higher fertilization rates when compared to untreated controls (P less than 0.05). Finally, while the presence of cumulus cells was not necessary for penetration of ova, increased frequencies of ova with both male and female pronuclei were found when cumuli were present (P less than 0.05).
The purpose of the present investigation was to measure the concentrations of progesterone (P4), testosterone (T) and estradiol-17 beta (E2) in isolated theca and granulosa layers of the five preovulatory follicles of the domestic hen. The largest follicle (F1), the second largest (F2), third largest (F3), fourth largest (F4) and fifth largest (F5) follicles were removed at 24, 18, 12, 6 and 2 h before the expected ovulation. Theca and granulosa layers were isolated and P4, T, E2 and protein concentrations determined. Protein concentrations of the granulosa and theca layers increased 5- and 15-fold, respectively, during the five ovulatory cycles prior to ovulation. As the follicle approached ovulation, there was a linear decrease in E2 concentration of the theca layer with the most significant decrease (P less than 0.001) occurring between 24 and 18 h of the ovulatory cycle. In the F3 and F4 theca layers, there was a significant increase (P less than 0.005) in E2 at 6 h of the ovulatory cycle. Fluctuations in T concentrations in theca and granulosa layers were similar. There was a significant increase (P less than 0.05) in T in both layers of the F2, F3 and F4 follicles at 6 h followed by a decrease (P less than 0.005) in the theca layers at 2 h of the ovulatory cycle. The P4 concentration of the granulosa layer increased gradually during follicular maturation, with the greatest increase occurring in the F2 and F1 granulosa layers between 18 and 12 h of the ovulatory cycle.
Ram rete testis fluid is shown to elicit clustering of suspensions of Sertoli cells from testes of immature rats, TM-4 cells derived from mouse testis, and erythrocytes from several species. Details of bioassay procedures and characteristics of the phenomenon are reported. Concanavalin A and wheat germ agglutinin prevent aggregation elicited by rete testis fluid, and this inhibition is specifically prevented by alpha-methylmannoside and N-acetyl-glucosamine, respectively. Influences of rete testis fluid on cell aggregation are not dependent on exogenous calcium, but clustering is blocked by various metabolic inhibitors such as dinitrophenol. Rete testis fluid addition to mixed suspensions of erythrocytes and TM-4 cells is followed by separate aggregation of each cell types. Using aggregation of TM-4 cells suspended in simple medium at low density in rotation as a bioassy, we have determined which fractions in rete testis fluid retain activity. We have shown that a heat-stable, trypsin-sensitive protein, having an isoelectric point below pH 4.0, retains the capacity to aggregate cells. We discuss the possible functions of this protein, named clusterin, in cell interactions.
Testes and blood samples were obtained from 201 stallions aged 6 months to 20 years in either December-January (nonbreeding season) or June-July (breeding season) to study the effect of age and season on reproductive parameters. Seasonal differences in the Sertoli cell population of adult (4-20 years old) horses were characterized by a 36% larger number of Sertoli cells in the breeding season than in the nonbreeding season. Seasonal elevation in the Sertoli cell population was associated with an increase in testicular weight and daily sperm production per testis (DSP/testis). Concentrations of luteinizing hormone (LH) and testosterone in serum varied with season. Although follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) concentrations also tended to be higher in the breeding season, this trend was not statistically significant (P less than 0.08). Sertoli cell numbers averaged over both seasons, like testicular weights, increased with age until 4-5 years of age, but were stabilized thereafter. This age-related difference was also associated with increased concentrations of FSH, LH and testosterone, and with increased DSP/testis. The Sertoli cell population was capable of increasing in the adult horse by fluctuating its size with season. The number of elongated spermatids per Sertoli cell over both seasons increased with age up to 4-5 years of age and was stabilized thereafter. Thus, seasonal and/or age-related differences in DSP/testis were associated with significant elevations in serum concentrations of FSH, LH and testosterone, testicular weights, numbers of elongated spermatids per Sertoli cell and elevation of the Sertoli cell population.
Quantitative cytological analyses of aging C57BL/6J mouse ovaries revealed that the populations of primordial and growing follicles were nearly exhausted by 13-14 months, the average age of ovulatory failure. Anovulatory animals of this age had, on the average, half the follicle number of their counterparts which were still ovulating. This result suggests that follicular depletion is a factor which contributes to the loss of ovarian cyclicity during aging. However, the considerable overlap of follicle number between the two groups suggests that other, possibly extraovarian, factors also influence the loss of ovulatory function. Although the numbers of follicles recruited for growth was much lower in ovaries from old cycling animals, the number of ova shed cyclically was generally within the range of younger individuals. The observed reduction in incidence of morphological atresia among medium-sized follicles may explain how ovulatory constancy is maintained virtually throughout the cyclical life of the ovary.
Bovine epididymal spermatozoa were incubated for 22 h in a modified Tyrode's medium. The percentages of sperm exhibiting an acrosome reaction were determined morphologically after fixing and staining specimens. The addition of chondroitin sulfate A (CS-A) significantly increased the incidence of acrosome reaction. When observed by electron microscopy, acrosome-reacted sperm had undergone vesiculation of the plasma and outer acrosomal membranes. Sperm incubated in the presence of CS-A demonstrated a significantly higher incidence of vesiculation when compared to the controls. Additionally, rates of in vitro fertilization of bovine oocytes were significantly elevated when sperm and ova were exposed to CS-A. These results suggest that glycosaminoglycans in the female reproductive tract may be responsible for some of the biochemical changes associated with fertilization, and a light microscope procedure can be used to assess occurrence of the acrosome reaction.
Corpora lutea (CL) were collected from Holstein heifers on Days 5, 10, 15 and 18 (5/day) of the estrous cycle. Dispersed luteal cell preparations were made and 10(6) viable luteal cells were incubated with bovine luteinizing hormone (LH) and different amounts of arachidonic acid in the presence and absence of the prostaglandin (PG) synthetase inhibitor indomethacin. The concentrations of progesterone, PGF2 alpha and 6-keto-PGF1 alpha, the stable inactive metabolite of prostacyclin (PGI2), were measured. Day 5 CL had the greatest initial content of 6-keto-PGF1 alpha (1.01 +/- 0.16 ng/10(6) cells), and synthesized more 6-keto-PGF1 alpha (2.55 +/- 0.43) than CL collected on Days 10 (0.57 +/- 0.11), 15 (0.08 +/- 0.05) and 18 (0.19 +/- 0.03) during a 2-h incubation period. Arachidonic acid stimulated the production of 6-keto-PGF1 alpha by Days 10, 15 and 18 luteal tissue. PGF2 alpha was produced at a greater rate on Day 5 (0.69 +/- 0.17 ng/10(6) cells) than on Days 10 (0.06 +/- 0.01), 15 (0.04 +/- 0.02) and 18 (0.08 +/- 0.01). Arachidonic acid stimulated and indomethacin inhibited the production of PGF2 alpha, in most cases. The initial content of 6-keto-PGF1 alpha was higher than that of PGF2 alpha on all days of the cycle and more 6-keto-PGF1 alpha was synthesized in response to arachidonic acid addition. The ratio of 6-keto-PGF1 alpha content to PGF2 alpha content was 4.39, 2.30, 1.25 and 1.13 on Days 5, 10, 15 and 18, respectively.
Plasma estradiol-17 beta and testosterone levels were assessed by radioimmunoassay during the sexual maturation of female amago salmon (Oncorhynchus rhodurus). Estradiol-17 beta levels gradually increased during vitellogenesis (June to September), reached a peak in September (about 16 ng/ml) and rapidly decreased in mature and ovulated fish (about 3-4 ng/ml) in October. The seasonal pattern of plasma testosterone levels lagged behind and followed that of estradiol-17 beta during vitellogenesis, but levels remained high in mature and ovulated fish (90-110 ng/ml). Estradiol-17 beta levels and the gonadosomatic index (GSI) values correlated well during vitellogenesis: GSI values showed a linear increase, and reached a peak (29.9 +/- 1.4) in October. Values were extremely low in ovulated fish (1.2 +/- 0.2). In vitro production of estradiol-17 beta and testosterone by ovarian follicles in response to partially purified chinook salmon gonadotropin (SG-G100) was examined monthly using 18-h incubations. Throughout the vitellogenic period SG-G100 stimulated both estradiol-17 beta and testosterone production: the steroidogenic response of follicles increased from June (about 2 ng/ml estradiol-17 beta; 0.1 ng/ml testosterone) to September (about 10 and 14 ng/ml, respectively). In October full-grown immature follicles which could be induced to mature in vitro by hormone treatment produced large amounts of testosterone (about 130 ng/ml) but not estradiol-17 beta. Postovulatory follicles also produced testosterone but the values were low (10 ng/ml) compared with full-grown immature follicles. Very low levels of estradiol-17 beta were produced by postovulatory follicles.
Rabbit spermatozoa were recovered from the oviductal ampullae 11 h postcoitus by an oil microflush technique. Their movement was evaluated in the ampullar fluid, or in ampullar fluid diluted with in vitro fertilization medium, in slide preparations which were approximately 25 micron or 100 micron deep. The movement of these sperm was compared with the movement of ejaculated sperm in diluted semen. Movement parameters measured from videotapes recorded by a high-speed camera were coded according to treatment and entered into a microcomputer for statistical analysis. A total of 157 spermatozoa were recovered from the oviducts of 16 does: 152 were motile and 126 were free-swimming. Nearly all of the free-swimming sperm swam in trajectories whose average paths were circular. The flagellar beat pattern of the circular swimmers was asymmetric and nearly planar, and the sperm did not roll. Spermatozoa observed in 25-micron slide preparations produced smaller flagellar bends than sperm swimming in 100-micron preparations and tended to swim in larger circles which were oriented in the plane of the slide. Spermatozoa observed within the cumulus matrix moved in a slow, erratic, sinuous manner, but resumed rapid circling upon leaving the matrix. It was concluded that the ampullar sperm were hyperactivated, retaining this physiological condition as they entered the cumulus. The movement qualitatively resembled that of hyperactivated guinea pig and hamster spermatozoa because these species effectively swim in circles. In contrast, 80% of the ejaculated spermatozoa swam in linear trajectories, resulting from relatively symmetrical, flagellar beat patterns. The percentage of rolling spermatozoa and the rolling frequencies were less in the 25-micron than the 100-micron slide preparations. Thus, the movement parameters of both ampullar and ejaculated spermatozoa were affected by the geometry of their observation chambers. This influence should be taken into account when observing sperm motility in vitro. It could also be important in vivo, where changes in sperm movement in response to epithelial surfaces might provide an advantage for reaching the cumulus mass. Ninety-eight percent of the motile ampullar sperm were observed to have acrosomes, including all spermatozoa found within the cumulus matrix.
Aromatase activity in the isolated granulosa layers of amago salmon (Oncorhynchus rhodurus) ovarian follicles was examined during the course of vitellogenesis and final oocyte maturation and ovulation. Estradiol-17 beta production by isolated granulosa layers incubated with exogenous testosterone increased during the period of vitellogenesis to reach a peak in late vitellogenesis, and then declined rapidly, in association with the ability of the oocyte to mature in response to partially purified salmon gonadotropin (SG-G100). Extremely low levels of estradiol-17 beta were produced by granulosa layers from follicles which had undergone final oocyte maturation in vivo and by post-ovulatory follicles. SG-G100 had no discernible effect on estradiol-17 beta production. These results are discussed in relation to other studies on the endocrine control of steroidogenesis in this species.
Experiments were conducted to determine how the cycle of the seminiferous epithelium influenced synthesis and secretion of proteins by seminiferous tubules. Tubular segments were treated with collagenase and then cultured with [35S]methionine. These myoid cell-depleted tubules isolated from different stages of the epithelial cycle exhibited, at Stages VI and XII, two distinct peaks of secretion of total radiolabeled proteins. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis indicated that the patterns of secreted proteins from these two stages were remarkably different, while those from other stages were intermediate between those at the peaks. At least 15 proteins were secreted cyclically, many of them previously unrecognized products of the seminiferous epithelium. One product, designated Cyclic Protein-2 (CP-2), exhibited a pronounced cycle of secretion, its peak at Stage VI being 30-fold greater than at its nadir at Stages XII-XIV. Further investigation indicated that CP-2 did not appear to originate from myoid cells or dispersed germ cells but could be recovered from Sertoli cell-enriched cultures prepared from Stage VI tubules. Protein secretion by tubular segments was also characterized by immunoprecipitation with two polyspecific antisera directed against Sertoli cell products. Five secretory proteins were identified which had cycles different from one another and from CP-2. In contrast to secreted products, the synthesis of most cellular proteins by tubular segments remained relatively constant throughout the cycle. It is concluded: 1) segments of the seminiferous epithelium secrete proteins into the culture medium which are distinct from cellular proteins; 2) the synthesis of many of these proteins varies with the epithelial cycle; and 3) several of the secreted proteins are of Sertoli cell origin, including a newly identified protein, CP-2. This indicates that the morphology and the protein synthetic capacity of the seminiferous epithelium are coordinated over space and time.
The relative content of DNA in spermatozoa presumed to be the X- and Y-chromosome-bearing gametes from bulls, boars, rams and rabbits and the amount of DNA in spermatozoa of cockerels was determined by flow cytometry. Differences in the relative content of DNA and proportions of the presumed X- and Y-sperm populations in cryopreserved semen from Holstein, Jersey, Angus, Hereford and Brahman bulls were also determined. Spermatozoa were washed by centrifugation using a series of dimethyl sulfoxide solutions made in isotonic sodium citrate, fixed in ethanol, treated with papain and dithioerythritol to loosen the chromatin structure and remove cellular organelles, and stained quantitatively for DNA with the fluorochrome 4'-6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI). Approximately 5000 stained sperm nuclei, which were nonviable due to the removal of other cellular organelles during the washing procedure, were measured for DNA in an epi-illumination flow cytometer. A single distinct peak for cockerel spermatozoa and two symmetrical, overlapping peaks for species with X- and Y-spermatozoa were seen. This and other evidence strongly supports the interpretation that the peaks represent the X- and Y-sperm populations. The content of DNA in sperm nuclei from cockerels, bulls, boars, rams and rabbits, as determined by fluorescence flow cytometry, corresponded to biochemical estimates of DNA per sperm cell. Analyses of the bimodal histograms by computer-fitting two Gaussian distributions to the data showed the means of the peaks differed by 3.9, 3.7, 4.1 and 3.9% for bulls, boars, rams and rabbits, respectively. In four replicate analyses of semen from 25 bulls representing 5 breeds, the average population of sperm nuclei in the Y-peaks ranged from 49.5 to 50.5% for all breeds. The X-Y peak differences did not vary within each breed, but were significantly different when the breeds were compared. Spermatozoa from Jersey bulls had larger X-Y peak differences (P less than 0.001) than spermatozoa from Holstein, Hereford, and Angus bulls; spermatozoa from Brahman bulls had smaller X-Y differences (P less than 0.004). It is suggested from the evidence obtained in these studies that flow cytometry can be used to assess the proportion of X- and Y-spermatozoa in semen of domestic animals and is thereby applicable to verification of the effectiveness of enrichment techniques for X- or Y-spermatozoa.
Experiment I: Hyperadrenal states were induced in intact heifers (N = 3) or adrenalectomized (ADRX) heifers (N = 3) by constant infusion of ACTH (20.8 micrograms, 1-24 ACTH/h) or hydrocortisone succinate (HS) (30 mg/h), respectively. Control infusions consisted of the saline vehicle. All infusions began on Day 2 of a normal estrous cycle. Exogenous gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) was given as a 100-micrograms bolus i.v. on Days 7, 9, and 11 (intact) or 5, 7, and 9 (ADRX) of the cycle. In intact heifers, the cumulative luteinizing hormone (LH) response was reduced (P less than 0.05) by the ACTH treatment. In ADRX heifers, the HS treatment did not alter the cumulative response but did alter the qualitative response with a time X treatment interaction (P less than 0.01). The LH response in the HS-ADRX animals had a slower onset and lower peak concentrations with a more prolonged response. Experiment II: Dispersed bovine pituitary cells were prepared and incubated at concentrations of 2 X 10(6) viable cells in 2.0 ml per dish. Cells were exposed to cortisol at concentrations of 0.01, 0.10, 0.21 and 1.03 X 10(-6) M for time periods of 8, 14, 20 or 26 h for basal LH secretion studies and 10, 16, 22 and 28 h for GnRH-stimulated LH secretion. Both dosage of cortisol and length of exposure had a depressing effect on basal LH release. The cortisol pretreatment also decreased (P less than 0.001) the LH release following addition of GnRH (8.5 X 10(-8) M) in cultures at all dosages and exposure times of cortisol. However, there was no decrease in LH or protein content of cells. These experiments indicate a direct action of cortisol on the pituitary gland to depress both basal and stimulated LH release.
Effects of temperature on bovine sperm acrosome reaction, oocyte maturation, hyaluronic acid production by cumulus cells and in vitro fertilization were studied. Viability and a true acrosome reaction of bovine spermatozoa were impaired at 40 degrees C. Temperatures lower than 35 degrees C did not enhance the acrosome reaction. However, viability between 30 degrees C-38 degrees C was not altered after 22 h of incubation. The optimal temperature for the acrosome reaction was 38 degrees C. Labeled glucosamine incorporation into glycosaminoglycans was not different among temperatures of 35 degrees C, 37 degrees C or 39 degrees C, whereas 41 degrees C caused a significant reduction (P less than 0.02). Temperatures ranging between 35 degrees C-39 degrees C had no deleterious effects on resumption and completion of meiosis, but at 41 degrees C the frequency of oocytes that progressed to Metaphase II was significantly reduced (P less than 0.0001). Ova matured at 39 degrees C had significantly higher rates of fertilization than at 35 degrees C, 37 degrees C, or 41 degrees C. Killed spermatozoa (control) had no effect on ovum activation at 39 degrees C. From these results it was concluded that events occurring prior to and during fertilization are temperature sensitive.
Sertoli cells synthesize and secrete a ceruloplasmin-like protein (testicular ceruloplasmin) that is immunologically similar to serum ceruloplasmin. Rat serum ceruloplasmin was purified and an antiserum was produced to the purified protein which specifically immunoprecipitated a 130,000 dalton protein from rat serum. This ceruloplasmin antiserum was found to also immunoprecipitate a 130,000 dalton protein synthesized and secreted by Sertoli cells. The presence of a protease inhibitor, phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride (PMSF), was required during the immunoprecipitation procedure to prevent the proteolytic degradation of testicular ceruloplasmin. Immunoprecipitation of proteins secreted by Sertoli cells with an antiserum to rat serum proteins was found to precipitate two proteins, testicular ceruloplasmin and testicular transferrin.