Culture of preimplantation mammalian embryos and cells can influence their subsequent growth and differentiation. Previously, we reported that culture of mouse embryonic stem cells is associated with deregulation of genomic imprinting and affects the potential for these cells to develop into normal fetuses. The purpose of our current study was to determine whether culture of preimplantation mouse embryos in a chemically defined medium (M16) with or without fetal calf serum (FCS) can affect their subsequent development and imprinted gene expression. Only one third of the blastocysts that had been cultured from two-cell embryos in M16 medium complemented with FCS developed into viable Day 14 fetuses after transfer into recipients. These M16 + FCS fetuses were reduced in weight as compared with controls and M16 fetuses and had decreased expression of the imprinted H19 and insulin-like growth factor 2 genes associated with a gain of DNA methylation at an imprinting control region upstream of H19. They also displayed increased expression of the imprinted gene Grb10. The growth factor receptor binding gene Grb7, in contrast, was strongly reduced in its expression in most of the M16 + FCS fetuses. No alterations were detected for the imprinted gene Mest. Preimplantation culture in the presence of serum can influence the regulation of multiple growth-related imprinted genes, thus leading to aberrant fetal growth and development.
The Booroola fecundity gene ( FecB ) increases ovulation rate and litter size in sheep and is inherited as a single autosomal locus. The effect of FecB is additive for ovulation rate (increasing by about 1.6 corpora lutea per cycle for each copy) and has been mapped to sheep chromosome 6q23â31, which is syntenic to human chromosome 4q21â25. Bone morphogenetic protein IB (BMP-IB) receptor (also known as ALK-6), which binds members of the transforming growth factor-Î² (TGF-Î²) superfamily, is located in the region containing the FecB locus. Booroola sheep have a mutation (Q249R) in the highly conserved intracellular kinase signaling domain of the BMP-IB receptor. The mutation segregated with the FecB phenotype in the Booroola backcross and half-sib flocks of sheep with no recombinants. The mutation was not found in individuals from a number of sheep breeds not derived from the Booroola strain. BMPR-IB was expressed in the ovary and in situ hybridization revealed its specific location to the oocyte and the granulosa cell. Expression of mRNA encoding the BMP type II receptor was widespread throughout the ovary. The mutation in BMPR-IB found in Booroola sheep is the second reported defect in a gene from the TGF-Î² pathway affecting fertility in sheep following the recent discovery of mutations in the growth factor, GDF9b/BMP15.
Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) secretion from epithelial cells lining the female reproductive tract is induced during early pregnancy by ovarian steroid hormones and constituents of seminal plasma. In this study we have investigated the influence of GM-CSF on development of preimplantation mouse embryos. Blastocyst-stage embryos were found to specifically bind 125 I-GM-CSF and analysis of GM-CSF mRNA receptor expression by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction indicated expression of the low-affinity Î± subunit of the GM-CSF receptor, but not the affinity-converting Î² subunit (Î² c ), or GM-CSF ligand. GM-CSF receptor mRNA was present in the fertilized oocyte and all subsequent stages of development, and in blastocysts it was expressed in both inner cell mass and trophectoderm cells. In vitro culture of eight-cell embryos in recombinant GM-CSF accelerated development of blastocysts to hatching and implantation stages, with a maximum response at a concentration of 2 ng/ml (77 pM). Blastocysts recovered from GM-CSF-null mutant (GMâ/â) mice on Day 4 of natural pregnancy or after superovulation showed retarded development, with the total cell number reduced by 14% and 18%, respectively, compared with GM+/+ embryos. Blastocysts generated in vitro from two-cell GMâ/â and GM+/+ embryos were larger when recombinant GM-CSF was added to the culture medium (20% and 24% increases in total cell numbers in GM+/+ and GMâ/â blastocysts, respectively). Incubation of blastocysts with recombinant GM-CSF elicited a 50% increase in the uptake of the nonmetabolizable glucose analogue, 3-O-methyl glucose. In conclusion, these data indicate that GM-CSF signaling through the low-affinity GM-CSF receptor in blastocysts is associated with increased glucose uptake and enhanced proliferation and/or viability of blastomeres. Together, the findings implicate a physiological role for maternal tract-derived GM-CSF in targeting the preimplantation embryo, and suggest that defective blastocyst development contributes to compromised pregnancy outcome in GM-CSF-null mutant mice.
Exposure to estrogens throughout a woman's life, including the period of intrauterine development, is a risk factor for the development of breast cancer. The increased incidence of breast cancer noted during the last 50 years may have been caused, in part, by exposure of women to estrogen-mimicking chemicals that are released into the environment. Here, we investigated the effects of fetal exposure to one such chemical, bisphenol A (BPA), on development of the mammary gland. CD-1 mice were exposed in utero to low, presumably environmentally relevant doses of BPA (25 and 250 Î¼g/kg body weight), and their mammary glands were assessed at 10 days, 1 mo, and 6 mo of age. Mammary glands of BPA-exposed mice showed differences in the rate of ductal migration into the stroma at 1 mo of age and a significant increase in the percentage of ducts, terminal ducts, terminal end buds, and alveolar buds at 6 mo of age. The percentage of cells that incorporated BrdU was significantly decreased within the epithelium at 10 days of age and increased within the stroma at 6 mo of age. These changes in histoarchitecture, coupled with an increased presence of secretory product within alveoli, resemble those of early pregnancy, and they suggest a disruption of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis and/or misexpression of developmental genes. The altered relationship in DNA synthesis between the epithelium and stroma and the increase in terminal ducts and terminal end buds are striking, because these changes are associated with carcinogenesis in both rodents and humans.
In this study, we evaluated mitochondrial distribution and ATP content of individual bovine oocytes before and after in vitro maturation (IVM). Cumulus-oocyte complexes were classified according to morphological criteria: category 1, homogeneous oocyte cytoplasm, compact multilayered cumulus oophorus; category 2, cytoplasm with small inhomogeneous areas, more than five layers of compact cumulus; category 3, heterogeneous/vacuolated cytoplasm, three to five layers of cumulus including small areas of denuded zona pellucida; category 4, heterogeneous cytoplasm, completely or in great part denuded. In immature oocytes, staining with MitoTracker green revealed mitochondrial clumps in the periphery of the cytoplasm, with a strong homogenous signal in category 1 oocytes, a weaker staining in category 2 oocytes, allocation of mitochondria around vacuoles in category 3 oocytes, and poor staining of mitochondria in category 4 oocytes. After IVM, mitochondrial clumps were allocated more toward the center, became larger, and stained more intensive in category 1 and 2 oocytes. This was also true for category 3 oocytes; however, mitochondria maintained their perivacuolar distribution. No mitochondrial reorganization was seen for category 4 oocytes. Before IVM, the average ATP content of category 1 oocytes (1.8 pmol) tended to be higher than that of category 2 oocytes (1.6 pmol) and was significantly ( P < 0.01) higher than in category 3 (1.4 pmol) and 4 oocytes (0.9 pmol). The IVM resulted in a significant ( P < 0.01) increase in the average ATP content of all oocyte categories, with no difference between oocytes extruding versus nonextruding a polar body. After in vitro fertilization (IVF) and culture, significantly ( P < 0.05) more category 1 and 2 than category 3 and 4 oocytes developed to the morula or blastocyst stage (determined 168 h after IVF). Total cell numbers of expanded blastocysts derived from category 1 and 2 oocytes were significantly ( P < 0.05) higher than of those originating from category 3 and 4 oocytes. These data indicate that mitochondrial reorganization and ATP levels are different between morphologically good and poor oocytes and may be responsible for their different developmental capacity after IVF.
Abstract The successful production of embryos by nuclear transfer (NT) employing cultured somatic donor cells depends upon a variety of factors. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effects 1) of two different activation protocols, 2) the use of quiescent or nonquiescent donor cells (G0 or G1 of the cell cycle), and 3) passage number of donor cells on the relative abundance (RA) of eight specific mRNAs (DNA methyltransferase, DNMT; mammalian achaete-scute homologue, Mash2; glucose transporter-1, Glut-1; heat shock protein 70.1, Hsp; desmocollin II, Dc II; E-cadherin, E-cad; interferon tau, IF; insulin-like growth factor 2 receptor, Igf2r) in single blastocysts employing a semiquantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assay. The results were compared with those for their in vitro (IVP)- and in vivo-generated noncloned counterparts. In experiment 1, employing either FBA (fusion before activation) or AFS (fusion and activation simultaneously) to generate NT blastocysts...
Selection of dominant follicles in cattle is associated with a deviation in growth rate between the dominant and largest subordinate follicle of a wave (diameter deviation). To determine whether acquisition of ovulatory capacity is temporally associated with diameter deviation, cows were challenged with purified LH at known times after a GnRH-induced LH surge (experiment 1) or at known follicular diameters (experiments 2 and 3). A 4-mg dose of LH induced ovulation in all cows when the largest follicle was â¥12 mm (16 of 16), in 17% (1 of 6) when it was 11 mm, and no ovulation when it was â¤10 mm (0 of 19). To determine the effect of LH dose on ovulatory capacity, follicular dynamics were monitored every 12 h, and cows received either 4 or 24 mg of LH when the largest follicle first achieved 10 mm in diameter (experiment 2). The proportion of cows ovulating was greater ( P < 0.05) for the 24-mg (9 of 13; 69.2%) compared with the 4-mg (1 of 13; 7.7%) LH dose. To determine the effect of a higher LH dose on follicles near diameter deviation, follicular dynamics were monitored every 8 h, and cows received 40 mg of LH when the largest follicle first achieved 7.0, 8.5, or 10.0 mm (experiment 3). No cows with a follicle of 7 mm (0 of 9) or 8.5 mm (0 of 9) ovulated, compared with 80% (8 of 10) of cows with 10-mm follicles. Thus, follicles acquired ovulatory capacity at about 10 mm, corresponding to about 1 day after the start of follicular deviation, but they required a greater LH dose to induce ovulation compared with larger follicles. We speculate that acquisition of ovulatory capacity may involve an increased expression of LH receptors on granulosa cells of the dominant follicle and that this change may also be important for further growth of the dominant follicle.
Exposure of rodents to phthalates is associated with developmental and reproductive anomalies, and there is concern that these compounds may be causing adverse effects on human reproductive health. Testosterone (T), secreted almost exclusively by Leydig cells in the testis, is the primary steroid hormone that maintains male fertility. Leydig cell T biosynthesis is regulated by the pituitary gonadotropin LH. Herein, experiments were conducted to investigate the ability of di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) to affect Leydig cell androgen biosynthesis. Pregnant dams were gavaged with 100 mg â1 kg â1 day â1 DEHP from Gestation Days 12 to 21. Serum T and LH levels were significantly reduced in male offspring, compared to control, at 21 and 35 days of age. However, these inhibitory effects were no longer apparent at 90 days. In a second set of experiments, prepubertal rats, from 21 or 35 days of age, were gavaged with 0, 1, 10, 100, or 200 mg â1 kg â1 day â1 DEHP for 14 days. This exposure paradigm affected Leydig cell steroidogenesis. For example, exposure of rats to 200 mg â1 kg â1 day â1 DEHP caused a 77% decrease in the activity of the steroidogenic enzyme 17Î²-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, and reduced Leydig cell T production to 50% of control. Paradoxically, extending the period of DEHP exposure to 28 days (Postnatal Days 21â48) resulted in significant increases in Leydig cell T production capacity and in serum LH levels. The no-observed-effect-level and lowest-observed-effect-level were determined to be 1 mg â1 kg â1 day â1 and 10 mg â1 kg â1 day â1 , respectively. In contrast to observations in prepubertal rats, exposure of young adult rats by gavage to 0, 1, 10, 100, or 200 mg â1 kg â1 day â1 DEHP for 28 days (Postnatal Days 62â89) induced no detectable changes in androgen biosynthesis. In conclusion, data from this study show that DEHP effects on Leydig cell steroidogenesis are influenced by the stage of development at exposure and may occur through modulation of T-biosynthetic enzyme activity and serum LH levels.
Expression of MUC1 in endometrial epithelium has been suggested to create a barrier to embryo attachment that must be lifted at the time of implantation. In this study, we investigated the hormonal regulation of human endometrial MUC1 in hormone replacement therapy cycles and in the human blastocyst. We also analyzed the embryonic regulation of MUC1 in human endometrial epithelial cells (EECs) during the apposition and adhesion phases of human implantation using two different in vitro models. Our results indicate that endometrial MUC1 mRNA and immunoreactive protein increase in receptive endometrium compared to nonreceptive endometrium. Human blastocysts express MUC1, as demonstrated by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and immunocytochemistry, localized at the trophectoderm. In vitro, MUC1 was present at the surface of primary cultures of human EEC, and presence of a human blastocyst (i.e., apposition phase) increases EEC MUC1 protein and mRNA compared to control EEC lacking embryos. Interestingly, when human blastocysts were allowed to attach to the EEC monolayer (i.e., adhesion phase), MUC1 was locally removed in a paracrine fashion on EEC at the implantation site. These results demonstrate a coordinated hormonal and embryonic regulation of EEC MUC1. Progesterone combined with estradiol priming induces an up-regulation of MUC1 at the receptive endometrium. During the apposition phase, presence of a human embryo increases EEC MUC1. However, at the adhesion phase, the embryo induces a paracrine cleavage of EEC MUC1 at the implantation site. These findings strongly suggest that MUC1 may act as an endometrial antiadhesive molecule that must be locally removed by the human blastocyst during the adhesion phase.
Endometrial glands secrete molecules hypothesized to support conceptus growth and development. In sheep, endometrial gland morphogenesis occurs postnatally and can be epigenetically ablated by neonatal progestin exposure. The resulting stable adult uterine gland knockout (UGKO) phenotype was used here to test the hypothesis that endometrial glands are required for successful pregnancy. Mature UGKO ewes were bred repeatedly to fertile rams, but no pregnancies were detected by ultrasound on Day 25. Day 7 blastocysts from normal superovulated ewes were then transferred synchronously into Day 7 control or UGKO ewes. Ultrasonography on Days 25â65 postmating indicated that pregnancy was established in control, but not in UGKO ewes. To examine early uterine-embryo interactions, four control and eight UGKO ewes were bred to fertile rams. On Day 14, their uteri were flushed. The uterus of each control ewe contained two filamentous conceptuses of normal length. Uteri from four UGKO ewes contained no conceptus. Uteri of three UGKO ewes contained a single severely growth-retarded tubular conceptus, whereas the remaining ewe contained a single filamentous conceptus. Histological analyses of these uteri revealed that endometrial gland density was directly related to conceptus survival and developmental state. Day 14 UGKO uteri that were devoid of endometrial glands did not support normal conceptus development and contained either no conceptuses or growth-retarded tubular conceptuses. The Day 14 UGKO uterus with moderate gland development contained a filamentous conceptus. Collectively, these results demonstrate that endometrial glands and, by inference, their secretions are required for periimplantation conceptus survival and development.
Testicular heat shock was used to characterize cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in male fertility. This model is relevant because heat shock proteins (HSPs) are required for spermatogenesis and also protect cells from environmental hazards such as heat, radiation, and chemicals. Cellular and molecular methods were used to characterize effects of testicular heat shock (43Â°C for 20 min) at different times posttreatment. Mating studies confirmed conclusions, based on histopathology, that spermatocytes are the most susceptible cell type. Apoptosis in spermatocytes was confirmed by TUNEL, and was temporally correlated with the expression of stress-inducible Hsp70-1 and Hsp70-3 proteins in spermatocytes. To further characterize gene expression networks associated with heat shock-induced effects, we used DNA microarrays to interrogate the expression of 2208 genes and thousands more expression sequence tags expressed in mouse testis. Of these genes, 27 were up-regulated and 151 were down-regulated after heat shock. Array data were concordant with the disruption of meiotic spermatogenesis, the heat-induced expression of HSPs, and an increase in apoptotic spermatocytes. Furthermore, array data indicated increased expression of four additional non-HSP stress response genes, and eight cell-adhesion, signaling, and signal-transduction genes. Decreased expression was recorded for 10 DNA repair and recombination genes; 9 protein synthesis, folding, and targeting genes; 9 cell cycle genes; 5 apoptosis genes; and 4 glutathione metabolism genes. Thus, the array data identify numerous candidate genes for further analysis in the heat-shocked testis model, and suggest multiple possible mechanisms for heat shock-induced infertility.
The developmental potential of caprine fetal fibroblast nuclei after in vitro transfection and nuclear transfer (NT) into enucleated, in vitro-matured oocytes was evaluated. Fetal fibroblasts were isolated from Day 27 to Day 30 fetuses from a dwarf breed of goat (BELE: breed early lactate early). Cells were transfected with constructs containing the enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) and neomycin resistance genes and were selected with G418. Three eGFP lines and one nontransfected line were used as donor cells in NT. Donor cells were cultured in Dulbecco minimum Eagle medium plus 0.5% fetal calf serum for 4â8 days prior to use in NT. Immature oocytes were recovered by laparoscopic ovum pick-up and matured for 24 h prior to enucleation and NT. Reconstructed embryos were transferred as cleaved embryos into synchronized recipients. A total of 27 embryos derived from transgenic cells and 70 embryos derived from nontransgenic cells were transferred into 13 recipients. Five recipients (38%) were confirmed pregnant at Day 35 by ultrasound. Of these, four recipients delivered five male kids (7.1% of embryos transferred) derived from the nontransfected line. One recipient delivered a female kid derived from an eGFP line (7.7% of embryos transferred for that cell line). Presence of the eGFP transgene was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction, Southern blotting, and fluorescent in situ hybridization analyses. Nuclear transfer derivation from the donor cells was confirmed by single-strand confirmation polymorphism analysis. These results demonstrate that both in vitro-transfected and nontransfected caprine fetal fibroblasts can direct full-term development following NT.
Hypertrophic placenta, or placentomegaly, has been reported in cloned cattle and mouse concepti, although their placentation processes are quite different from each other. It is therefore tempting to assume that common mechanisms underlie the impact of somatic cell cloning on development of the trophoblast cell lineage that gives rise to the greater part of fetal placenta. To characterize the nature of placentomegaly in cloned mouse concepti, we histologically examined term cloned mouse placentas and assessed expression of a number of genes. A prominent morphological abnormality commonly found among all cloned mouse placentas examined was expansion of the spongiotrophoblast layer, with an increased number of glycogen cells and enlarged spongiotrophoblast cells. Enlargement of trophoblast giant cells and disorganization of the labyrinth layer were also seen. Despite the morphological abnormalities, in situ hybridization analysis of spatiotemporally regulated placenta-specific genes did not reveal any drastic disturbances. Although repression of some imprinted genes was found in Northern hybridization analysis, it was concluded that this was mostly due to the reduced proportion of the labyrinth layer in the entire placenta, not to impaired transcriptional activity. Interestingly, however, cloned mouse fetuses appeared to be smaller than those of litter size-matched controls, suggesting that cloned mouse fetuses were under a latent negative effect on their growth, probably because the placentas are not fully functional. Thus, a major cause of placentomegaly is expansion of the spongiotrophoblast layer, which consequently disturbs the architecture of the layers in the placenta and partially damages its function.
The primary aim of this study was to establish a flow cytometric technique for determining the capacitation status of stallion spermatozoa. To this end, a flow cytometric technique that demonstrates changes in plasma membrane fluidity; namely, merocyanine 540 staining, was compared with the more conventional Ca 2+ -dependent fluorescence microscopic technique, chlortetracycline (CTC) staining, for assessing capacitation status. In addition, the effect of bicarbonate/CO 2 on the progress of capacitation and the acrosome reaction (AR) and on temporal changes in sperm motility, with particular regard to hyperactivation, was analyzed. For the study, fresh semen was washed and then incubated for 5 h in bicarbonate-containing or bicarbonate-free medium, with or without Ca 2+ ionophore to induce the AR, and at intervals during incubation aliquots were taken and analyzed for capacitation and acrosome status. The AR was assessed using both the CTC and fluorescein isothiocyanate-peanut agglutinin (FITC-PNA) staining techniques with similar results. In brief, it was found that merocyanine 540 detects capacitation-related changes much earlier than CTC does (0.5 h versus â¼3 h), and that flow cytometry for evaluation of capacitation and AR was a quicker (10 sec per sample) and more accurate (10â000 cells counted) technique than fluorescence microscopy. Furthermore, it was observed that Ca 2+ ionophore could not induce the AR in the absence of bicarbonate, but that the ionophore synergized the bicarbonate-mediated induction of the AR as detected by CTC (although it was not significant when evaluated using FITC-PNA). The percentage of hyperactive sperm in each sample was not affected by time of incubation under the experimental conditions studied. In conclusion, merocyanine 540 staining is a better method than CTC staining for evaluating the early events of capacitation for stallion spermatozoa incubated in vitro. Furthermore, bicarbonate sperm activation clearly plays a vital role in the induction of the AR in stallion spermatozoa.
We have previously established the presence of a functional bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) system in the ovary by demonstrating the expression of BMP ligands and receptors as well as novel cellular functions. Specifically, BMP-4 and BMP-7 are expressed in theca cells, and their receptors by granulosa cells. These BMPs enhanced and attenuated the stimulatory action of FSH on estradiol and progesterone production, respectively. To investigate the underlying mechanism of the differential regulation, we analyzed mRNA levels for key regulators in the steroid biosynthetic pathways by RNase protection assay. BMP-7 enhanced P450 aromatase (P450 arom ) but suppressed steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) mRNAs induced by FSH, whereas mRNAs encoding further-downstream steroidogenic enzymes, including P450 side-chain cleavage enzyme and 3Î²-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, were not significantly altered. These findings suggest that BMP-7 stimulation and inhibition of P450 arom and StAR mRNA expression, respectively, may play a role in the mechanisms underlying the differential regulation of estradiol and progesterone production. To establish the physiological relevance of BMP functions, we investigated the in vivo effects of injections of recombinant BMP-7 into the ovarian bursa of rats. Ovaries treated with BMP-7 had decreased numbers of primordial follicles, yet had increased numbers of primary, preantral, and antral follicles, suggesting that BMP-7 may act to facilitate the transition of follicles from the primordial stage to the pool of primary, preantral, and antral follicles. In this regard, we have also found that BMP-7 caused an increase in DNA synthesis and proliferation of granulosa cells from small antral follicles in vitro. In contrast to the stimulatory activity, BMP-7 exhibited pronounced inhibitory effects on ovulation rate and serum progesterone levels. These findings establish important new biological activities of BMP-7 in the context of ovarian physiology, including folliculogenesis and ovulation.
Hyperactivated motility, a swimming pattern displayed by mammalian sperm in the oviduct around the time of ovulation, is essential to fertilization. Ca 2+ has been shown to be crucial for the initiation and maintenance of hyperactivated motility. Nevertheless, how Ca 2+ reaches the axoneme in the core of the flagellum to switch on hyperactivation is unknown. Ca 2+ -releasing agents were used to determine whether an intracellular store provides Ca 2+ to the axoneme. Hyperactivation was induced immediately in bull sperm by thapsigargin, caffeine, and thimerosal. The responses were dose-dependent and were induced in both capacitated and uncapacitated sperm. When external Ca 2+ was buffered below 50 nM with 1,2- bis (2-aminophenoxy)ethane- N , N , N â², N â²-tetraacetic acid, the response to caffeine was significantly reduced; however, the responses to thapsigargin and thimerosal were not affected. This indicates caffeine-induced hyperactivation depends on external Ca 2+ influx, whereas hyperactivation by thapsigargin and thimerosal do not. Acrosome reactions were not induced by these treatments; therefore, an acrosomal store was probably not involved. Indirect immunofluorescence labeling showed type I inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors (IP 3 R) in the acrosome and neck region, but no ryanodine receptors (RyR) were found using anti-RyR antibodies or BODIPY FL-X ryanodine. These data indicate that there is an IP 3 R-gated Ca 2+ store in the neck region of sperm that regulates hyperactivated motility.
The developmental potential of caprine fetal fibroblast nuclei after in vitro transfection and nuclear transfer (NT) into enucleated, in vitro-matured oocytes was evaluated. Fetal fibroblasts were isolated from Day 27 to Day 30 fetuses from a dwarf breed of goat (BELE: breed early lactate early). Cells were transfected with constructs containing the enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) and neomycin resistance genes and were selected with G418. Three eGFP lines and one nontransfected line were used as donor cells in NT. Donor cells were cultured in Dulbecco minimum Eagle medium plus 0.5% fetal calf serum for 4-8 days prior to use in NT. Immature oocytes were recovered by laparoscopic ovum pick-up and matured for 24 h prior to enucleation and NT. Reconstructed embryos were transferred as cleaved embryos into synchronized recipients. A total of 27 embryos derived from transgenic cells and 70 embryos derived from nontransgenic cells were transferred into 13 recipients. Five recipients (38%) were confirmed pregnant at Day 35 by ultrasound. Of these, four recipients delivered five male kids (7.1% of embryos transferred) derived from the nontransfected line. One recipient delivered a female kid derived from an eGFP line (7.7% of embryos transferred for that cell line). Presence of the eGFP transgene was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction, Southern blotting, and fluorescent in situ hybridization analyses. Nuclear transfer derivation from the donor cells was confirmed by single-strand confirmation polymorphism analysis. These results demonstrate that both in vitro-transfected and nontransfected caprine fetal fibroblasts can direct full-term development following NT.
Sheep fetal development at 35 days of gestation was examined following natural mating, in vitro production (IVP) of fertilized embryos, or somatic cell nuclear transfer (NT). Five crossbred (Blackface Ã Black Welsh) and four purebred (Black Welsh) fetuses and their associated placentae produced by natural mating were morphologically normal and consistent with each other. From 10 ewes receiving 21 IVP embryos, 17 fetuses (81%) were recovered, and 15 of these (88%) were normal. The NT fetuses were derived from two Black Welsh fetal fibroblast cell lines (BLW1 and 6). Transfer of 21 BLW1 and 22 BLW6 NT embryos into 12 and 11 ewes, respectively, yielded 7 (33%) and 8 (36%) fetuses, respectively. Only three (43%) BLW1 and two (25%) BLW6 NT fetuses were normal, with the rest being developmentally retarded. The NT fetal and placental deficiencies included liver enlargement, dermal hemorrhaging, and lack of placental vascular development reflected by reduced or absent cotyledonary structures. Fibroblasts isolated from normal and abnormal cloned fetuses did not differ in their karyotype from sexually conceived fetuses or nuclear donor cell lines. Our results demonstrate that within the first quarter of gestation, cloned fetuses are characterized by a high incidence of developmental retardation and placental insufficiency. These deficiencies are not linked to gross defects in chromosome number.
Cloning using G 0 -arrested somatic cells has led to the suggestion that this stage of the cell cycle is necessary for the success of cloning. In this study we report that cloned mice can be generated from fetal fibroblasts arrested at metaphase of the cell cycle. The procedure involves fusing a metaphase-arrested fetal fibroblast to an enucleated oocyte. After parthenogenetic activation a polar body and single diploid pronucleus were formed. Some of these were allowed to develop to the blastocyst stage, while others were enucleated and the nucleus was transferred to an enucleated fertilized 1-cell embryo. After the single transfer technique, 2 out of 164 developed to late stages of gestation were dead with gross abnormalities. However, after the serial nuclear transfer, 5 out of 272 embryos were recovered live at Day 19.5, and 2 of these went on to develop into apparently normal adults. All of the cloned embryos showed severe placental hypertrophy and defective differentiation of placental tissues. This study illustrates that reprogramming can occur after nuclear transfer at metaphase of the cell cycle.
In mice, transplantation of spermatogonial stem cells from a fertile male to the seminiferous tubules of an infertile recipient male results in progeny with donor-derived haplotype. Attempts to extend this approach by transplanting human testis cells to mice have led to conflicting claims that no donor germ cells persisted or that human spermatozoa were produced in the recipient. To examine this issue we used the baboon, a primate in which testis cell populations of several ages could be obtained for transplantation, and demonstrate that donor spermatogonial stem cells readily establish germ cell colonies in recipient mice, which exist for periods of at least 6 mo. However, differentiation of germ cells toward the lumen of the tubule and production of spermatozoa did not occur. The presence of baboon spermatogonial stem cells and undifferentiated spermatogonia in mouse seminiferous tubules for long periods after transplantation indicates that antigens, growth factors, and signaling molecules that are necessary for interaction of these cells and the testis environment have been preserved for 100 million years of evolutionary separation. Because germ cell differentiation and spermatogenesis did not occur, the molecules necessary for this process appear to have undergone greater divergence between baboon and mouse.