Proper cell communication within the ovarian follicle is critical for the growth and maturation of a healthy oocyte that can be fertilized and develop into an embryo. Cell communication within the follicle involves many signaling molecules and is affected by maternal age. Recent studies indicate that cell communication can be mediated through secretion and uptake of small membrane-enclosed vesicles. The goals of this study were to 1) identify cell-secreted vesicles (microvesicles and exosomes) containing miRNAs and proteins within ovarian follicular fluid and 2) determine if miRNA level differs in exosomes isolated from follicular fluid in young compared to old mares. We demonstrate the presence of vesicles resembling microvesicles and exosomes in ovarian follicular fluid using transmission electron microscopy and CD63-positive and RNA containing vesicles using flow cytometry. Moreover, proteomics analysis reveals that follicular fluid-isolated exosomes contain both known exosomal proteins and proteins not previously reported in isolated exosomes. MicroRNAs were detected in microvesicle and exosomes preparations isolated from follicular fluid by real-time PCR analysis. Uptake of fluorescent-labeled microvesicles by granulosa cells was examined using in vitro and in vivo approaches. MicroRNA expression profiling reveals that miRNAs in microvesicle and exosome preparations isolated from follicular fluid also are present within surrounding granulosa and cumulus cells. These studies revealed that cell communication within the mammalian ovarian follicle may involve transfer of bioactive material by microvesicles and exosomes. Finally, miRNAs present in exosomes from ovarian follicular fluid varied with the age of the mare, and a number of different miRNAs were detected in young vs. old mare follicular fluid.
Infection of the bovine endometrium with Gram-negative bacteria commonly causes uterine disease. Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) on cells of the immune system bind Gram-negative bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS), stimulating the secretion of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin 1B (IL1B) and IL6, and the chemokine IL8. Because the endometrium is the first barrier to infection of the uterus, the signaling cascade triggered by LPS and the subsequent expression of inflammatory mediators were investigated in endometrial epithelial and stromal cells, and the key pathways identified using short interfering RNA (siRNA) and biochemical inhibitors. Treatment of endometrial cells with ultrapure LPS stimulated an inflammatory response characterized by increased IL1B, IL6, and IL8 mRNA expression, and IL6 protein accumulation in epithelial cells, and by increased IL1B and IL8 mRNA expression, and IL6 and IL8 protein accumulation in stromal cells. Treatment of endometrial cells with LPS also induced the degradation of IKB and the nuclear translocation of NFKB, as well as rapid phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase 3/1 (MAPK3/1) and MAPK14. Knockdown of TLR4 or its signaling adaptor molecule, myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MYD88), using siRNA reduced the inflammatory response to LPS in epithelial and stromal cells. Biochemical inhibition of MAPK3/1, but not JNK or MAPK14, reduced LPS-induced IL1B, IL6, and IL8 expression in endometrial cells. In conclusion, epithelial and stromal cells have an intrinsic role in innate immune surveillance in the endometrium, and in the case of LPS this recognition occurs via TLR4- and MYD88-dependent cell signaling pathways.
The embryonic origins of ovarian granulosa cells have been a subject of debate for decades. By tamoxifen-induced lineage tracing of Foxl2-expressing cells, we show that descendants of the bipotential supporting cell precursors in the early gonad contribute granulosa cells to a specific population of follicles in the medulla of the ovary that begin to grow immediately after birth. These precursor cells arise from the proliferative ovarian surface epithelium and enter mitotic arrest prior to upregulating Foxl2. Granulosa cells that populate the cortical primordial follicles activated in adult life derive from the surface epithelium perinatally, and enter mitotic arrest at that stage. Ingression from the surface epithelium dropped to undetectable levels by Postnatal Day 7, when most surviving oocytes were individually encapsulated by granulosa cells. These findings add complexity to the standard model of sex determination in which the Sertoli and granulosa cells of the adult testis and ovary directly stem from the supporting cell precursors of the bipotential gonad.
Preterm delivery is the leading cause of perinatal mortality and morbidity. Current tocolytics target myometrial contractions, a late step in the labor cascade. Identifying earlier events in parturition may lead to more effective therapeutic strategies. We hypothesized that inflammatory events in decidua (the maternal-fetal interface), characterized by leucocyte infiltration, are an early event during term and preterm labor (PTL). Leucocyte abundance in decidua of human pregnancies was quantified following term labor and PTL (idiopathic and infection associated), in conjunction with investigation of temporal inflammatory events in rat uterus during the peri-labor period and in PTL induced by mifepristone. In human decidua, macrophage numbers were 4-fold higher in term labor (P < 0.01) and 2.5-fold higher in non-infection-associated PTL (P < 0.05) than in term nonlaboring samples. Neutrophil abundance was unchanged with labor but elevated in PTL with infection (5- to 53-fold increase; P < 0.01). T and NK cells were more abundant in idiopathic PTL than TL (P < 0.05). In rat, decidual macrophage infiltration increased 4.5-fold 12 h prior to labor and remained elevated during labor and early postpartum (P < 0.01). Decidual infiltration preceded that of the myometrium and was 4-fold higher (P < 0.01). In rat PTL, decidual macrophage numbers were also elevated (P < 0.01) and exceeded those of the myometrium (P < 0.05). These studies show for the first time that leucocytes infiltrate decidua during labor at term and preterm, supporting a role for leucocyte-derived inflammatory mediators in decidual activation. In the rat, this occurred prior to labor, suggesting it is an early event during parturition and thus a potential target for intervention.
In addition to sperm cells, seminal fluid contains various small membranous vesicles. These include prostasomes, membrane vesicles secreted by prostate epithelial cells. Prostasomes have been proposed to perform a variety of functions, including modulation of (immune) cell activity within the female reproductive tract and stimulation of sperm motility and capacitation. How prostasomes mediate such diverse functions, however, remains unclear. In many studies, vesicles from the seminal plasma have been categorized collectively as a single population of prostasomes; in fact, they more likely represent a heterogeneous mixture of vesicles produced by different reproductive glands and secretory mechanisms. We here characterized membranous vesicles from seminal fluid obtained from vasectomized men, thereby excluding material from the testes or epididymides. Two distinct populations of vesicles with characteristic sizes (56 +/- 13 nm vs. 105 +/- 25 nm) but similar equilibrium buoyant density ( approximately 1.15 g/ml) could be separated by using the distinct rates with which they floated into sucrose gradients. Both types of vesicle resembled exosomes in terms of their buoyant density, size, and the presence of the ubiquitous exosome marker CD9. The protein GLIPR2 was found to be specifically enriched in the lumen of the smaller vesicles, while annexin A1 was uniquely associated with the surface of the larger vesicles. Prostate stem-cell antigen (PSCA), a prostate-specific protein, was present on both populations, thereby confirming their origin. PSCA was, however, absent from membrane vesicles in the seminal fluid of some donors, indicating heterogeneity of prostasome characteristics between individuals.
The prolonged incubation of human spermatozoa in vitro was found to induce a loss of motility associated with the activation of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species generation in the absence of any change in mitochondrial membrane potential. The increase in mitochondrial free radical production was paralleled by a loss of protein thiols and a concomitant rise in the formation of 4-hydroxynonenal, an electrophilic product of lipid peroxidation that was found to directly suppress sperm movement. These results prompted a search for nucleophiles that could counteract the action of such cytotoxic aldehydes, as a means of ensuring the long-term survival of spermatozoa in vitro. Four nucleophilic compounds were consequently assessed (penicillamine, homocysteine, N-acetylcysteine, and mercaptosuccinate) in three species (human, rat, and horse). The results of this analysis revealed drug and species specificity in the manner in which these compounds affected sperm function, with penicillamine conferring the most consistent, effective support. This prosurvival effect was achieved downstream of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species generation and was associated with the stabilization of 4-hydroxynonenal generation, the preservation of sperm thiols, and a reduction in 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine formation. Theoretical calculations of Fe-S and Cu-S bond distances and corresponding binding energies suggested that the particular effectiveness of penicillamine may, in part, reflect the ability of this nucleophile to form stable complexes with transition metals that catalyze lipid peroxidation. The practical implications of these findings were indicated by the effective preservation of equine spermatozoa for 8 days at ambient temperature when the culture medium was supplemented with penicillamine.
Understanding gene expression patterns in response to altered environmental conditions at different time points of the preimplantation period would improve our knowledge on regulation of embryonic development. Here we aimed to examine the effect of alternative in vivo and in vitro culture conditions at the time of major embryonic genome activation (EGA) on the development and transcriptome profile of bovine blastocysts. Four different blastocyst groups were produced under alternative in vivo and in vitro culture conditions before or after major EGA. Completely in vitro-and in vivo-produced blastocysts were used as controls. We compared gene expression patterns between each blastocyst group and in vivo blastocyst control group using EmbryoGENE's bovine microarray. The data showed that changing culture conditions from in vivo to in vitro or vice versa, either before or after the time of major EGA, had no effect on the developmental rates; however, in vitro conditions during that time critically influenced the transcriptome of the blastocysts produced. The source of oocyte had a critical effect on developmental rates and the ability of the embryo to react to changing culture conditions. Ontological classification highlighted a marked contrast in expression patterns for lipid metabolism and oxidative stress response between blastocysts generated in vivo versus in vitro, with opposite trends. Molecular mechanisms and pathways that are influenced by altered culture conditions during EGA were defined. These results will help in the development of new strategies to modify culture conditions at this critical stage to enhance the development of competent blastocysts.
Human endometrium regenerates on a cyclic basis from candidate stem/progenitors whose genetic programs are yet to be determined. A subpopulation of endometrial stromal cells, displaying key properties of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), has been characterized. The endometrial MSC (eMSC) is likely the precursor of the endometrial stromal fibroblast. The goal of this study was to determine the transcriptome and signaling pathways in the eMSC to understand its functional phenotype. Endometrial stromal cells from oocyte donors (n = 20) and patients undergoing benign gynecologic surgery (n = 7) were fluorescence-activated cell sorted into MCAM (CD146)(+)/PDGFRB(+) (eMSC), MCAM (CD146)(-)/PDGFRB(+) (fibroblast), and MCAM (CD146)(+)/PDGFRB(-) (endothelial) populations. The eMSC population contained clonogenic cells with a mesenchymal phenotype differentiating into adipocytes when cultured in adipogenic medium. Gene expression profiling using Affymetrix Human Gene 1.0 ST arrays revealed 762 and 1518 significantly differentially expressed genes in eMSCs vs. stromal fibroblasts and eMSCs vs. endothelial cells, respectively. By principal component and hierarchical clustering analyses, eMSCs clustered with fibroblasts and distinctly from endothelial cells. Endometrial MSCs expressed pericyte markers and were localized by immunofluorescence to the perivascular space of endometrial small vessels. Endometrial MSCs also expressed genes involved in angiogenesis/vasculogenesis, steroid hormone/hypoxia responses, inflammation, immunomodulation, cell communication, and proteolysis/inhibition, and exhibited increased Notch, TGFB, IGF, Hedgehog, and G-protein-coupled receptor signaling pathways, characteristic of adult tissue MSC self-renewal and multipotency. Overall, the data support the eMSC as a clonogenic, multipotent pericyte that displays pathways of self-renewal and lineage specification, the potential to respond to conditions during endometrial desquamation and regeneration, and a genetic program predictive of its differentiated lineage, the stromal fibroblast.
Knowledge of the consequences of maternal obesity in human placental fatty acids (FA) transport and metabolism is limited. Animal studies suggest that placental uptake of maternal FA is altered by maternal overnutrition. We hypothesized that high maternal body mass index (BMI) affects human placental FA transport by modifying expression of key transporters. Full-term placentas were obtained by vaginal delivery from normal weight (BMI, 18.5-24.9 kg/m(2)) and obese (BMI > 30 kg/m(2)) women. Blood samples were collected from the mother at each trimester and from cord blood at delivery. mRNA and protein expression levels were evaluated with real-time RT-PCR and Western blotting. Lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity was evaluated using enzyme fluorescence. In vitro linoleic acid transport was studied with isolated trophoblasts. Our results demonstrated that maternal obesity is associated with increased placental weight, decreased gestational age, decreased maternal high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels during the first and third trimesters, increased maternal triglyceride levels during the second and third trimesters, and increased maternal T3 levels during all trimesters, and decreased maternal cholesterol (CHOL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels during the third trimester; and increased newborn CHOL, LDL, apolipoprotein B100, and T3 levels. Increases in placental CD36 mRNA and protein expression levels, decreased SLC27A4 and FABP1 mRNA and protein and FABP3 protein expression, and increased LPL activity and decreased villus cytotrophoblast linoleic acid transport were also observed. No changes were seen in expression of PPARA, PPARD, or PPARG mRNA and protein. Overall this study demonstrated that maternal obesity impacts placental FA uptake without affecting fetal growth. These changes, however, could modify the fetus metabolism and its predisposition to develop diseases later in life.
Kisspeptin is an important regulator of reproduction in many vertebrates. The involvement of the two kisspeptins, Kiss1 and Kiss2, and their receptors, Gpr54-1 and Gpr54-2, in controlling reproduction was studied in the brains of the modern teleosts, striped and hybrid basses. In situ hybridization and laser capture microdissection followed by quantitative RT (QRT)-PCR detected coexpression of kiss1 and kiss2 in the hypothalamic nucleus of the lateral recess. Neurons expressing gpr54-1 and gpr54-2 were detected in several brain regions. In the preoptic area, gpr54-2 was colocalized in GnRH1 neurons while gpr54-1 was expressed in cells attached to GnRH1 fibers, indicating two different modes of GnRH1 regulation. The expression of all four genes was measured in the brains of males and females at different life stages using QRT-PCR. The levels of kiss1 and gpr54-1 mRNA, the latter being expressed in minute levels, were consistently lower than those of kiss2 and gpr54-2. While neither gene's expression increased at prepuberty, all were dramatically elevated in mature females. The levels of kiss2 mRNA increased also in mature males. Kiss1 peptide was less potent than Kiss2 in elevating plasma luteinizing hormone levels and in up-regulating gnrh1 and gpr54-2 expression in prepubertal hybrid bass in vivo. In contrast, during recrudescence, Kiss1 was more potent than Kiss2 in inducing luteinizing hormone release, and Kiss2 down-regulated gnrh1 and gpr54-2 expression. This is the first report in fish to demonstrate the alternating actions and the importance of both neuropeptides for reproduction. The organization of the kisspeptin system suggests a transitional evolutionary state between early to late evolving vertebrates.
Increasing evidence indicates that microRNAs (miRNAs) may be critical players in spermatogenesis. The miRNA expression profiles of THY1(+)-enriched undifferentiated spermatogonia were characterized, and members of Mir-17-92 (Mirc1) and its paralog Mir-106b-25 (Mirc3) clusters are significantly downregulated during retinoic acid-induced spermatogonial differentiation, both in vitro and in vivo. The repression of microRNA clusters Mir-17-92 (Mirc1) and Mir-106b-25 (Mirc3) by retinoic acid in turn potentially upregulates the expression of Bim, Kit, Socs3, and Stat3. The male germ cell-specific Mir-17-92 (Mirc1) knockout mice exhibit small testes, a lower number of epididymal sperm, and mild defect in spermatogenesis. Absence of Mir-17-92 (Mirc1) in male germ cells dramatically increases expression of Mir-106b-25 (Mirc3) cluster miRNAs in the germ cells. These results suggest that Mir-17-92 (Mirc1) cluster and Mir-106b-25 (Mirc3) cluster miRNAs possibly functionally cooperate in regulating spermatogonial development.
Oxygen is a powerful regulator of preimplantation embryo development, affecting gene expression, the proteome, and energy metabolism. Even a transient exposure to atmospheric oxygen can have a negative impact on embryo development, which is greatest prior to compaction, and subsequent post-compaction culture at low oxygen cannot alleviate this damage. In spite of this evidence, the majority of human in vitro fertilization is still performed at atmospheric oxygen. One of the physiological parameters shown to be affected by the relative oxygen concentration, carbohydrate metabolism, is linked to the ability of the mammalian embryo to develop in culture and remain viable after transfer. The aim of this study was, therefore, to determine the effect of oxygen concentration on the ability of mouse embryos to utilize both amino acids and carbohydrates both before and after compaction. Metabolomic and fluorometric analysis of embryo culture media revealed that when embryos were exposed to atmospheric oxygen during the cleavage stages, they exhibited significantly greater amino acid utilization and pyruvate uptake than when cultured under 5% oxygen. In contrast, postcompaction embryos cultured in atmospheric oxygen showed significantly lower mean amino acid utilization and glucose uptake. These metabolic changes correlated with developmental compromise because embryos grown in atmospheric oxygen at all stages showed significantly lower blastocyst formation and proliferation. These findings confirm the need to consider both embryo development and metabolism in establishing optimal human embryo growth conditions and prognostic markers of viability, and further highlight the impact of oxygen on such vital parameters.
Trophectoderm (TE) biopsy and DNA microarray have become the new technologies for preimplantation genetic diagnosis in humans. In this study, we comprehensively examined aneuploid formation in human blastocysts produced in vitro with microarray and investigated the clinical outcome after transfer of euploid embryos. Biopsied cells from either TE or inner cell mass (ICM) were processed for microarray to examine the errors in 23 pairs of chromosomes and the consistency between TE and ICM. It was found that 56.6% of blastocysts were aneuploid. Further analysis indicated that 62.3% of aneuploid blastocysts had single and 37.7% had multiple chromosomal abnormalities. Chromosome errors could occur in any chromosome, but errors in chromosome 21 accounted for the most (11.3%) among the 23 pairs of chromosomes. Transfer of array-screened blastocysts produced high pregnancy (70.2%) and implantation (63.5%) rates. Microarray of TE and ICM cells in the same blastocysts revealed that high proportions of aneuploid blastocysts (69.2%) were mosaic, including aneuploid TE and euploid ICM, inconsistent anomalies between ICM and TE, or euploid TE cells and aneuploid ICM in the same blastocyst. These results indicate that high proportions of human blastocysts produced in vitro from women of advanced maternal age are aneuploid and mosaic. Errors can occur in any of the 23 pairs of chromosomes in human blastocysts. Biopsy from TE in blastocysts does not exactly predict the chromosomal information in ICM if the embryos are aneuploid. Some mosaic blastocysts have euploid ICM, which may indicate important differentiate mechanism(s) of human preimplantation embryos.
The presence of bisphenol A (BPA) in consumer products has raised concerns about potential adverse effects on reproductive health. Testicular Leydig cells are the predominant source of the male sex steroid hormone testosterone, which supports the male phenotype. The present report describes the effects of developmental exposure of male rats to BPA by gavage of pregnant and lactating Long-Evans dams at 2.5 and 25 mu g/kg body weight from Gestational Day 12 to Day 21 postpartum. This exposure paradigm stimulated Leydig cell division in the prepubertal period and increased Leydig cell numbers in the testes of adult male rats at 90 days. Observations from in vitro experiments confirmed that BPA acts directly as a mitogen in Leydig cells. However, BPA-induced proliferative activity in vivo is possibly mediated by several factors, such as 1) protein kinases (e. g., mitogen-activated protein kinases or MAPK), 2) growth factor receptors (e. g., insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor-beta and epidermal growth factor receptors), and 3) the Sertoli cell-secreted anti-Mullerian hormone (also called Mullerian inhibiting substance). On the other hand, BPA suppressed protein expression of the luteinizing hormone receptor (LHCGR) and the 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase enzyme (HSD17B3), thereby decreasing androgen secretion by Leydig cells. We interpret these findings to mean that the likely impact of deficits in androgen secretion on serum androgen levels following developmental exposure to BPA is alleviated by increased Leydig cell numbers. Nevertheless, the present results reinforce the view that BPA causes biological effects at environmentally relevant exposure levels and its presence in consumer products potentially has implication for public health.
Mono-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP) is the active metabolite of the most commonly used plasticizer, di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, and is considered to be a reproductive toxicant. However, little is known about the effects of MEHP on ovarian antral follicles. Thus, the present study tested the hypothesis that MEHP inhibits follicle growth via oxidative stress pathways. The data indicate that MEHP increases reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and inhibits follicle growth in antral follicles, whereas N-acetylcysteine (NAC; an antioxidant) restores ROS levels to control levels and rescues follicles from MEHP-induced inhibition of follicle growth. To further analyze the mechanism by which MEHP induces oxidative stress and inhibits follicle growth, the expression and activities of various key antioxidant enzymes (copper/zinc superoxide dismutase [SOD1], glutathione peroxidase [GPX], and catalase [CAT]) and the expression of key cell-cycle regulators (Ccnd2, Ccne1, and Cdk4) and apoptotic regulators (Bcl-2 and Bax) were compared in control and MEHP-treated follicles. The data indicate that MEHP inhibits the expression and activities of SOD1 and GPX; does not inhibit Cat expression; inhibits the expression of Ccnd2, Ccne1, Cdk4, and Bcl-2; but increases the expression of Bax compared to controls. Furthermore, NAC blocks these toxic effects of MEHP. Collectively, these data suggest that MEHP induces oxidative stress by disrupting the activities of antioxidant enzymes. This may lead to decreased expression of cell-cycle regulators and antiapoptotic regulators and increased expression of proapoptotic factors, which then may lead to inhibition of follicle growth.
Ovarian granulosa cells display strong androgen receptor (AR) expression, suggesting a functional role for direct AR-mediated actions within developing mammalian follicles. By crossing AR-floxed and anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH)-Cre recombinase mice, we generated granulosa cell-specific androgen receptor knockout mice (GCARKO). Cre expression, assessed by lacZ activity, localized to 70%-100% of granulosa cells in most preantral to antral follicles, allowing for selected evaluation of granulosa cell AR-dependent actions during follicle development. Relative to wild-type (WT) females, GCARKO females were subfertile, producing a 24% reduction in the number of litters (P < 0.05) over 6 mo and an age-dependent decrease in total number of pups born, evident from 6 mo of age (P < 0.05). Follicle dynamics were altered in GCARKO ovaries at 3 mo of age, with a significant reduction in large preantral and small antral follicle numbers compared to WT ovaries (P < 0.05). Global premature follicle depletion was not observed, but increased follicular atresia was evident in GCARKO ovaries at 6 mo of age, with an 81% increase in unhealthy follicles and zona pellucida remnants (P < 0.01). Cumulus cell expansion was decreased (P < 0.01) and oocyte viability was diminished in GCARKO females, with a significant reduction in the percentage of oocytes fertilized after natural mating and, thus, in the rate of progression to the two-cell embryo stage (P < 0.05). In addition, compared with age-matched WT females, 6-mo-old GCARKO females exhibited significantly prolonged estrous cycles (P <= 0.05), suggesting altered hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal feedback signaling. In conclusion, our findings revealed that selective loss of granulosa cell AR actions during preantral and antral stages of development leads to a premature reduction in female fecundity through reduced follicle health and oocyte viability.
In species with endometrial decidualization and hemochorial placentation (humans, mice, and others), leukocytes localize to early implant sites and contribute to decidual angiogenesis, spiral arterial remodeling, and trophoblast invasion. Relationships between leukocytes, trophoblasts, and the decidual vasculature are not fully defined. Early C57BL/6J implant sites were analyzed by flow cytometry to define leukocyte subsets and by whole-mount immunohistochemistry to visualize relationships between leukocytes, decidual vessels, and trophoblasts. Ptprc(+) (CD45(+)) cells increased in decidua between Gestational Day (GD) 5.5 and GD 9.5. Uterine natural killer (uNK) cells that showed dynamic expression of Cd (CD) 69, an activating receptor, and Klrg1 (KLRG1), an inhibitory receptor, localized mesometrially and were the dominant CD45(+) cells between GD 5.5 and GD 7.5. At GD 8.5, immature monocytes that occurred throughout decidua exceeded uNK cells numerically and many leukocytes acquired irregular shapes, and leukocyte-leukocyte conjugates became frequent. Vessels were morphologically heterogeneous and regionally unique. Migrating trophoblasts were first observed at GD 6.5 and, at GD 9.5, breached endothelium, entered vascular lumens, and appeared to occlude some vessels, as described for human spiral arteries. No leukocyte-trophoblast conjugates were detected. Whole-mount staining gave unparalleled decidual vascular detail and cell-specific positional information. Its application across murine models of pregnancy disturbances should significantly advance our understanding of the maternal-fetal interface.
Uterine leiomyomas (fibroids) are the most common benign tumors in women of reproductive age. These tumors are three to four times more prevalent in African American women, who also have a 10 times higher incidence of hypovitaminosis D than white women. Recent studies have demonstrated the antitumor effects of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 on several cancers, but its effects on uterine leiomyomas are still unknown. To determine the antitumor and therapeutic effects of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 on uterine leiomyomas, female Eker rats (14-16 mo old) harboring uterine leiomyomas were randomized into control and experimental groups and were given vehicle versus 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (0.5 mu g/kg per day) subcutaneously for 3 wk, respectively. At the end of the experiment, the rats were euthanized, and the leiomyoma tumors were analyzed. Treatment with 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 significantly reduced leiomyoma tumor size in Eker rats. It also reduced leiomyoma size by suppressing cell growth and proliferation-related genes (Pcna, cyclin D1 [Ccnd1], Myc, Cdk1, Cdk2, and Cdk4), antiapoptotic genes (Bcl2 and Bcl2l1 [Bcl-x]), and estrogen and progesterone receptors. Additionally, immunohistochemistry revealed decreased expression of PCNA and MKI67 (a marker of proliferation) and increased expression of caspase 3 in 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3-treated Eker rat leiomyomas. Toxicity analyses using serum samples showed similar levels of SGOT, SGPT, calcium, and total bilirubin in 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3-treated and vehicle-treated control Eker rats. These results support that 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 is an antitumor agent that may be a potential safe, nonsurgical therapeutic option for the treatment of uterine leiomyomas.
Lipid droplets, subspecies (Bos taurus indicus vs. Bos taurus taurus), and in vitro culture are known to influence cryopreservation of bovine embryos. Limited information is available regarding differences in membrane lipids in embryo, such as phosphatidylcholines (PC) and sphingomyelins (SM). The objective of the present study was to compare the profiles of several PC and SM species and relate this information to cytoplasmic lipid levels present in Nellore (B. taurus indicus) and Simmental (B. taurus taurus) blastocysts produced in vitro (IVP) or in vivo (ET). Simmental and IVP embryos had more cytoplasmic lipid content than Nellore and ET embryos (n = 30). Blastocysts were submitted to matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry. Differences in the PC profile were addressed by principal component analysis. The lipid species with PC (32: 1) and PC (34: 1) had higher ion abundances in Nellore embryos, whereas PC (34: 2) was higher in Simmental embryos. IVP embryos had less abundant ions of PC (32: 1), PC (34: 2), and PC (36: 5) compared to ET embryos. Moreover, ion abundance of PC (32: 0) was higher in both Nellore and Simmental IVP embryos compared to ET embryos. Therefore, mass spectrometry profiles of PC and SM species significantly differ with regard to unsaturation level and carbon chain composition in bovine blastocysts due to subspecies and in vitro culture conditions. Because PC abundances of Nellore and Simmental embryos were distinct (34: 1 vs. 34: 2), as were those of IVP and ET embryos (32: 0 vs. 36: 5), they are potential markers of postcryopreservation embryonic survival.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is an estrogenic chemical used to manufacture many commonly used plastic and epoxy resin-based products. BPA ubiquitously binds to estrogen receptors throughout the body, including estrogen receptor alpha (ESR1) in the ovary. Few studies have investigated the effects of BPA on ovarian antral follicles. Thus, we tested the hypothesis that BPA alters cell cycle regulators and induces atresia in antral follicles via the genomic estrogenic pathway, inhibiting follicle growth. To test this hypothesis, we isolated antral follicles from 32- to 35-day-old control and Esr1-overexpressing mice and cultured them with vehicle control (dimethylsulfoxide [DMSO]) or BPA (1-100 mu g/ml). Additionally, antral follicles were isolated from 32- to 35-day-old FVB mice and cultured with DMSO, BPA (1100 mu g/ml), estradiol (10 nM), ICI 182,780 (ICI; 1 mu M), BPA plus ICI, or BPA plus estradiol. Follicles were measured for growth every 24 h for 96-120 h and processed either for analysis of estrogen receptor, cell cycle, and/or atresia factor mRNA expression, or for histological evaluation of atresia. Results indicate that estradiol and ICI do not protect follicles from BPA-induced growth inhibition and that estradiol does not protect follicles from BPA-induced atresia. Furthermore, overexpressing Esr1 does not increase susceptibility of follicles to BPA-induced growth inhibition. Additionally, BPA up-regulates Cdk4, Ccne1, and Trp53 expression, whereas it down-regulates Ccnd2 expression. BPA also up-regulates Bax and Bcl2 expression while inducing atresia in antral follicles. These data indicate that BPA abnormally regulates cell cycle and atresia factors, and this may lead to atresia and inhibited follicle growth independently of the genomic estrogenic pathway.