Now showing 1 - 10 of 11
  • 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.
      406Scopus© Citations 208
  • Publication
    Hormonal composition of follicular fluid from abnormal follicular structures in mares
    The objective was to characterise the hormonal composition of follicular fluid from mares with distinct anovulatory-cystic follicles. Follicular fluid was aspirated from six mares that presented with cystic follicles and from pre-ovulatory follicles of five normal mares (controls). Differences in progesterone, oestradiol, testosterone, IGF-I and IGF binding were analysed using Fisher's exact test. There were greater (P<0.03) follicular fluid oestradiol concentrations in normal follicles and the testosterone concentration of the cystic fluid was greater (P<0.05) than that of the normal fluid. There also was a greater (P<0.03) percentage of IGF-I binding and lower (P<0.02) IGF-I concentrations in the fluid collected from the cystic structures compared with the fluid from normal follicles. Despite the limited number of animals, the fact that fluid aspirated from cystic follicles had higher testosterone and lower oestradiol concentrations could be of diagnostic value when a practitioner wants to distinguish between a cystic and non-cystic persistent follicle. The research reported here also indicates a likely role for the IGF system in the pathogenesis of the development and maintenance of anovulatory follicular structures in mare ovaries.
      458Scopus© Citations 3
  • Publication
    A novel twist to uterine torsion and abomasal displacement in dairy cows
    (Elsevier, 2013-06)
    Every bovine practitioner is acutely aware of the increased risk of the occurrence of ‘transition cow disease’ in dairy cows during their transition from late pregnancy to early lactation. Changes in management during this time can result in a multitude of problems including those associated with metabolic and energy imbalances, as well as infection of the uterus and mammary gland (Mulligan et al., 2006 and LeBlanc, 2008). The periparturient period can thus be quite a precarious phase in terms of the health of these ‘high performance athletes’ that are constantly balancing on a tightrope between health and disease.
      627Scopus© Citations 2
  • Publication
    Interovulatory intervals in mares receiving deslorelin implants in Ireland (2009 to 2010)
    Deslorelin acetate implants, recently licensed in Ireland and the UK for ovulation induction in mares, have been associated with prolonged interovulatory intervals in USA studies, leading to the practice of removing implants postovulation. Trial data in Australia indicate a less pronounced effect on interovulatory intervals, suggesting possible geographical variation. Objectives of the current study were to assess the effect of deslorelin implants, with and without removal on oestrous cycle length in Irish- and UK-based Thoroughbred broodmares. Data were collected retrospectively from 88 oestrous cycles. A statistically significant difference (P=0.02) was found between interovulatory intervals in mares in which the deslorelin implant was not removed, compared with administration and removal of the implant or the use of human chorionic gonadotrophin. The results suggest that implant removal when possible is advisable. The delay in subsequent ovulations was less marked than that reported in some studies from the USA. This information is useful in deciding when to schedule subsequent breeding for mares which received a deslorelin implant during the previous oestrous period and provides evidence to counter-concerns that mares treated with deslorelin implants may experience a long delay in return to oestrus if the implant is not removed.
      333Scopus© Citations 5
  • 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.
      721Scopus© Citations 49
  • Publication
    The use of epidurals in cattle
    (BioMed Central, 2010-01) ; ;
    In practice, anaesthesia of cattle under field conditions involves the application of local anaesthetic techniques such as flank anaesthesia, regional limb perfusion and caudal epidural anaesthesia in order to obtain suitable operating conditions without having to perform general anaesthesia. Caudal epidural anaesthesia can be divided into 2 different categories: High dose and low dose. High epidural anaesthesia involves administration of a relatively large volume of local anaesthetic to provide analgesia to more cranial body regions and is therefore used for surgeries on the hind limb and flank. The more common method is low epidural analgesia which differs only in the volume of the local anaesthetic injected. This technique is inexpensive, effective and practical and requires no sophisticated equipment. It is therefore relatively easy to perform under field conditions.
  • 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.
      380Scopus© Citations 39
  • 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.
      654Scopus© Citations 52
  • Publication
    Global proteomic characterization of uterine histotroph recovered from beef heifers yielding good quality and degenerate day 7 embryos
    The objective was to analyze the proteomic composition of uterine flushes collected from beef heifers on day 7 after insemination. Estrus was synchronized in crossbred beef heifers by using a protocol with a controlled intravaginal drug releasing device. Heifers detected in standing estrus (within 24-48 h after removal of controlled intravaginal drug releasing device) were inseminated (estrus = day 0) with frozen-thawed semen from a single ejaculate of a bull with proven fertility. Heifers from which an embryo was recovered (after slaughter on day 7) were classified as either having a viable embryo (morula/blastocyst stage) or a degenerate embryo (arrested at the 2- to 16-cell stage). The overall recovery rate (viable and degenerate combined) was 64%. Global liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry proteomic analysis of the histotroph collected identified 40 high-confidence proteins present on day 7; 26 proteins in the viable group, 10 in the degenerate group, and 4 shared between both groups. Five proteins (platelet-activating factor acetylhydrolase IB subunit γ [PAFAH1B3], tubulin α-1D chain, tubulin β-4A chain, cytochrome C, and dihydropyrimidinase-related protein-2) were unique or more abundant in the histotroph collected from animals with a viable embryo, and 1 protein (S100-A4) was more abundant in the histotroph collected from animals with a degenerate embryo. Of interest, PAFAH1B3, detected only in histotroph from the group yielding viable embryos, belongs to the group of platelet-activating factors that are known to be important for the development of the pre-implantation embryo in other species. To our knowledge this is the first report of PAFAH1B3 in relation to bovine early embryonic development.
      715Scopus© Citations 12
  • Publication
    DNA methylation dynamics at imprinted genes during bovine pre-implantation embryo development
    Background: In mammals, maternal differentially methylated regions (DMRs) acquire DNA methylation during the postnatal growth stage of oogenesis, with paternal DMRs acquiring DNA methylation in the perinatal prospermatagonia. Following fusion of the male and female gametes, it is widely accepted that murine DNA methylation marks at the DMRs of imprinted genes are stable through embryogenesis and early development, until they are reprogrammed in primordial germ cells. However, the DNA methylation dynamics at DMRs of bovine imprinted genes during early stages of development remains largely unknown. The objective of this investigation was to analyse the methylation dynamics at imprinted gene DMRs during bovine embryo development, from blastocyst stage until implantation. Results: To this end, pyrosequencing technology was used to quantify DNA methylation at DMR-associated CpG dinucleotides of six imprinted bovine genes (SNRPN, MEST, IGF2R, PLAGL1, PEG10 and H19) using bisulfite-modified genomic DNA isolated from individual blastocysts (Day 7); ovoid embryos (Day 14); filamentous embryos (Day 17) and implanting conceptuses (Day 25). For all genes, the degree of DNA methylation was most variable in Day 7 blastocysts compared to later developmental stages (P < 0.05). Furthermore, mining of RNA-seq transcriptomic data and western blot analysis revealed a specific window of expression of DNA methylation machinery genes (including DNMT3A, DNMT3B, TRIM28/KAP1 and DNMT1) and proteins (DNMT3A, DNMT3A2 and DNMT3B) by bovine embryos coincident with imprint stabilization. Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that the DNA methylation status of bovine DMRs might be variable during the early stages of embryonic development, possibly requiring an active period of imprint stabilization.
      662Scopus© Citations 28