Now showing 1 - 8 of 8
  • Publication
    Evaluation of models to induce low progesterone during the early luteal phase in cattle
    Two experiments were designed to evaluate models for generation of low circulating progesterone concentrations during early pregnancy in cattle. In Experiment 1, 17 crossbred heifers (Bos taurus) were assigned to either prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α) administration on Days 3, 3.5, and 4 (PG3; n = 9) or to control (n = 8). Blood samples were collected from heifers from Days 1 to 9 for progesterone assay. Progesterone concentrations were decreased (P < 0.03) between 18 and 48 h after first PGF2α treatment in heifers assigned to PG3 compared with that of controls. In Experiment 2, 39 crossbred heifers detected in estrus were inseminated (Day 0) and assigned to either (1) PGF2α administration on Days 3, 3.5, and 4 (PG3; n = 10), (2) PGF2α administration on Days 3, 3.5, 4, and 4.5 (PG4; n = 10), (3) Progesterone Releasing Intravaginal Device (PRID) insertion on Day 4.5 with PGF2α administration on Days 5 and 6 (PRID + PGF2α; n = 10), or (4) control (n = 9). Blood samples were collected daily until Day 15, and conceptus survival rate was determined at slaughter on Day 16. Progesterone concentrations during the sampling period in the PG3 and PG4 groups did not differ but were less than that of controls (P < 0.01). After an initial peak, progesterone concentrations in the PRID + PGF2α group were similar to that of controls. More heifers in the PG4 group (6 of 10) had complete luteal regression than did those in the PG3 group (3 of 10). Conceptus survival rate on Day 16 did not differ between groups. There was a significant correlation between progesterone concentration on Days 5 and 6 and conceptus size on Day 16. In summary, treatment with PGF2α on Days 3, 3.5, and 4 postestrus appeared to provide the best model to induce reduced circulating progesterone concentrations during the early luteal phase in cattle.
      455Scopus© Citations 41
  • Publication
    Characterisation of endometrial gene expression and metabolic parameters in beef heifers yielding viable or non-viable embryos on Day 7 after insemination
    The aim of the present study was to compare the hormonal and metabolic characteristics and endometrial gene expression profiles in beef heifers yielding either a viable or degenerate embryo on Day 7 after insemination as a means to explain differences in embryo survival. Oestrus was synchronised in cross-bred beef heifers (n = 145) using a controlled internal drug release (CIDR)-prostaglandin protocol. Heifers (n = 102) detected in standing oestrus (within 24-48 h after CIDR removal) were inseminated 12-18 h after detection of oestrus (Day 0) with frozen-thawed semen from a single ejaculate of a bull with proven fertility. Blood samples were collected from Day 4 to Day 7 after oestrus to measure progesterone (on Days 4, 5 and 7), insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I (on Days 4 and 6) and urea (on Day 7) concentrations. All animals were killed on Day 7. Uterine pH was determined at the time of death. Animals from which an embryo was recovered were classified as either having a viable embryo (morula/blastocyst stage; n = 32) or a retarded embryo (arrested at the two- to 16-cell stage; n = 19). In addition, 14 single-celled unfertilised oocytes were recovered, giving an overall recovery rate of 64%. There was no significant difference in the blood parameters determined or uterine pH at the time of death between heifers with either a viable or retarded embryo. The relative abundance of nine transcripts (i.e. MOGAT1, PFKB2, LYZ2, SVS8, UHRF1, PTGES, AGPAT4, DGKA and HGPD) of 53 tested in the endometrial tissue differed between heifers with a viable or retarded embryo. Both LYZ2 and UHRF1 are associated with regulation of the immune system; PFKFB2 is a mediator in glycolysis; MOGAT, AGPAT4 and DGKA belong to the triglyceride synthesis pathway; and PTGES and HGPD belong to the prostaglandin pathway. Both these metabolic pathways are important for early embryonic development. In conclusion, retarded embryo development in the present study was not related to serum progesterone, IGF-I, insulin or urea concentrations, nor to uterine pH at the time of death. However, altered expression of genes involved in the prostaglandin and triglyceride pathways, as well as two genes that are closely associated with the regulation of immunity, in the endometrium may indicate a uterine component in the retardation of embryo development in these beef heifers.
      826Scopus© Citations 56
  • Publication
    Effect of progesterone supplementation in the first week post conception on embryo survival in beef heifers
    Progesterone is essential for establishment and maintenance of pregnancy in mammals. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of elevating progesterone during the different physiological stages of early embryo development on embryo survival. Estrus was synchronized in cross-bred beef heifers (n = 197, ∼2-years old) and they were inseminated 12–18 h after estrus onset (=Day 0). Inseminated heifers were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatments: (1) Control, n = 69; (2) progesterone supplementation using a Controlled Internal Drug Release Device (CIDR) from Day 3 to 6.5, n = 64; or (3) progesterone supplementation using a CIDR from Day 4.5 to 8, n = 64. Body condition (BCS) and locomotion scores (scale of 1–5) were recorded for all animals. Animals with a locomotion score ≥4 (very lame) were excluded. Embryo survival rate was determined at slaughter on Day 25. Conceptus length and weight were recorded and the corpus luteum (CL) of all pregnant animals was dissected and weighed. Supplementation with exogenous progesterone increased (P < 0.05) peripheral progesterone concentrations, but did not affect embryo survival rate compared with controls. Mean CL weight, conceptus length and conceptus weight were not different between treatments. There was a positive relationship (P < 0.04) between the increase in progesterone concentrations from Days 3 to 6.5 and embryo survival rate in treated heifers and a similar trend existed between the increase from Days 4.5 to 8 (P < 0.06). There was also a positive relationship (P < 0.05) between the progesterone concentration on Day 6.5 and the embryo survival rate in treated heifers. A direct correlation was seen between locomotion score and embryo survival rate, with higher (P < 0.05) early embryo survival rates in heifers with a lower locomotion score. In conclusion, supplementation with progesterone at different stages of early embryo development increased peripheral progesterone concentration and resulted in a positive association between changes in progesterone concentration during the early luteal phase and embryo survival rate. Supplementation with progesterone had no effect on either CL weight or conceptus size in pregnant animals. Lameness had a significant negative effect on early embryo survival.
      861Scopus© Citations 54
  • Publication
    Sequential analysis of global gene expression profiles in immature and in vitro matured bovine oocytes: potential molecular markers of oocyte maturation
    Background: Without intensive selection, the majority of bovine oocytes submitted to in vitro embryo production (IVP) fail to develop to the blastocyst stage. This is attributed partly to their maturation status and competences. Using the Affymetrix GeneChip Bovine Genome Array, global mRNA expression analysis of immature (GV) and in vitro matured (IVM) bovine oocytes was carried out to characterize the transcriptome of bovine oocytes and then use a variety of approaches to determine whether the observed transcriptional changes during IVM was real or an artifact of the techniques used during analysis.Results: 8489 transcripts were detected across the two oocyte groups, of which ~25.0% (2117 transcripts) were differentially expressed (p < 0.001); corresponding to 589 over-expressed and 1528 under-expressed transcripts in the IVM oocytes compared to their immature counterparts. Over expression of transcripts by IVM oocytes is particularly interesting, therefore, a variety of approaches were employed to determine whether the observed transcriptional changes during IVM were real or an artifact of the techniques used during analysis, including the analysis of transcript abundance in oocytes in vitro matured in the presence of α-amanitin. Subsets of the differentially expressed genes were also validated by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and the gene expression data was classified according to gene ontology and pathway enrichment. Numerous cell cycle linked (CDC2, CDK5, CDK8, HSPA2, MAPK14, TXNL4B), molecular transport (STX5, STX17, SEC22A, SEC22B), and differentiation (NACA) related genes were found to be among the several over-expressed transcripts in GV oocytes compared to the matured counterparts, while ANXA1, PLAU, STC1and LUM were among the over-expressed genes after oocyte maturation.Conclusion: Using sequential experiments, we have shown and confirmed transcriptional changes during oocyte maturation. This dataset provides a unique reference resource for studies concerned with the molecular mechanisms controlling oocyte meiotic maturation in cattle, addresses the existing conflicting issue of transcription during meiotic maturation and contributes to the global goal of improving assisted reproductive technology.
      323Scopus© Citations 72
  • Publication
    Changes in the endometrial transcriptome during the bovine estrous cycle: effect of low circulating progesterone and consequences for conceptus elongation
    In cattle, elevated concentrations of circulating progesterone (P4) in the immediate post-conception period have been associated with an advancement of conceptus elongation, an associated increase in interferon-tau production and higher pregnancy rates. Low P4 has been implicated as a causative factor in the low pregnancy rates observed in dairy cows. The aims of this study were (1) to describe the changes that occur in the bovine endometrial transcriptome during the estrous cycle, (2) to determine how elevated P4 affects the temporal pattern of gene expression in the endometrium of cyclic heifers, (3) to determine if the expression of these genes is altered in heifers with low P4 and (4) to determine the consequences of low P4 for conceptus development following embryo transfer. The main findings were that 1) relatively few differences occurred in endometrial gene expression during the early luteal phase of the estrous cycle under normal concentrations of P4 (Day 5 versus Day 7) but comparison of endometria from more distant stages of the luteal phase (Day 7 versus Day 13) revealed large transcriptional changes; 2) exogenous supplementation of P4, leading to elevated concentrations from Day 3 to Day 8, considerably altered the expression of a large number of genes at all stages of the luteal phase; 3) induction of low circulating P4 altered the normal temporal changes that occured in the expression of these genes, mainly by delaying their expression; 4) this delay in gene expression was, in part, due to delayed down regulation of the PGR from the LE and GE, and 5) the altered endometrial gene expression induced by low P4 was associated with a reduced capacity of the uterus to support conceptus development after embryo transfer on Day 7. In conclusion, the present study provides clear evidence for a temporal change in the transcriptomic signature of the bovine endometrium which is sensitive to the concentrations of circulating P4 in the first few days after estrus and which can, under conditions of low progesterone, lead to an suboptimal uterine environment and a reduced ability to support conceptus elongation.
      483Scopus© Citations 229
  • Publication
    Altered endometrial immune gene expression in beef heifers with retarded embryos
    The aim of the present study was to compare endometrial gene expression profiles in a group of beef heifers yielding viable or retarded embryos on Day 7 after oestrus as a means of potentially explaining differences in embryo survival rates. Heifers were classified as either: (1) viable, when the embryo collected on Day 7 after oestrus was at the correct developmental stage (i.e. morula/early blastocyst); or (2) retarded, when the embryo was arrested at the 2–16-cell stage. The focus of the present study was on genes that were associated with either the pro- or anti-inflammatory immune response. Endometrial gene expression was determined using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis. Expression of the β-defensin (DEFB1), interferon (IFN)-α (IFNA), IFN-γ (IFNG), interleukin (IL)-6 (IL6), IL-10 (IL10), forkhead box P3 (FOXP3) and natural cytotoxicity triggering receptor 1 (NCR1) genes was lower in endometria from viable than retarded heifers. Expression of the nuclear factor of kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B cells 1 (NKFB1), transforming growth factor (TGF)-β (TGFB), IFN-γ-inducible protein 16 (IFI16) and IL-21 (IL21) genes was higher in viable than retarded heifers. We propose that small disturbances in the expression of immune genes in the endometrium on Day 7 after oestrus can have detrimental effects on embryo survival.
    Scopus© Citations 20  575
  • Publication
    Characterization of the Th Profile of the Bovine Endometrium during the Oestrous Cycle and Early Pregnancy
    Despite extensive research in the area of cow fertility, the extent to which the maternal immune system is modulated during pregnancy in cattle remains unclear. Therefore, the objective of the current study was to characterize the presence and response profile of B, T-helper (LTh), T- cytotoxic (LTc), gamma delta-T (γδT) and natural killer (NK) lymphocytes in terms of cell number, distribution and cytokine expression in bovine endometrial tissue to pregnancy. Endometrial tissue samples were collected from beef heifers on Days 5, 7, 13 and 16 of the estrous cycle or pregnancy. Samples were analysed by immunofluorescence to identify the presence and abundance of B-B7 (B-cells), CD4 (LTh), CD8 (LTc), γδT cell receptor (TCR) and CD335/NKp46 (NK cells) -positive immune cells. Quantitative real time PCR (QPCR) was carried out to analyse mRNA relative abundance of FOXP3 (a marker of regulatory T (Treg) cells) and a panel of immune factors, including MHC-I, LIF, Interleukins 1, 2, 6, 8, 10, 11,12A, IFNa and IFNG. Results indicate that B-B7+ cells are quite populous in bovine endometrial tissue, CD4+ and CD8+ -cells are present in moderate numbers and γδTCR+ and CD335+ cells are present in low numbers. Pregnancy affected the total number and distribution pattern of the NK cell population, with the most significant variation observed on Day 16 of pregnancy. Neither B lymphocytes nor T lymphocyte subsets were regulated temporally during the oestrous cycle or by pregnancy prior to implantation. mRNA transcript abundance of the immune factors LIF, IL1b, IL8 and IL12A, IFNa and IFNG, expression was regulated temporally during the estrous cycle and LIF, IL1b, IL-10, IL11, IL12A were also temporally regulated during pregnancy. In conclusion, the endometrial immune profile of the oestrous cycle favours a Th2 environment in anticipation of pregnancy and the presence of an embryo acts to fine tune this environment.
      269Scopus© Citations 58