Abstract in English:Abstract In Vitro Embryo Production (IVP) is widely used to improve the reproductive efficiency of livestock animals, however increasing the embryo development rates and pregnancy outcomes is still a challenge for some species. Thus, the lack of biological knowledge hinders developing specie-specific IVP protocols. Therefore, the contributions of RNA-seq to generate relevant biological knowledge and improve the efficiency of IVP in livestock animals are reviewed herein.
Abstract in English:Abstract Transvaginal follicular aspiration technique together with in vitro embryo production are the biotechnological alternatives currently available to support genetic improvement breeding programs in buffalo species. However, aspects related to animal management, lack of knowledge of the metabolic needs and biochemical peculiarities of gametes and embryos, as well as the reproductive physiology characteristics have hampered progress in the results. Despite the low availability of good quality oocytes collected after OPU in donors as a physiological characteristic of buffalo species, high rates of oocyte maturation, modest embryo cleavage, blastocyst production and pregnancy rates after transvaginal embryo transfer in recipients could be obtained in buffalo in vitro embryo production programs. The results of implementing an in vitro embryo production program in buffaloes in the northern region of Pará state, Brazil, and results published by other groups demonstrate the feasibility of implementing this biotechnology in the routine of breeding programs. Nevertheless, in order to achieve better and consistent results, it is necessary to deepen the knowledge on the peculiarities of reproductive biology in this specie. Selection of donor animals based on ovarian size and ovarian follicular reserve and on the rate of blastocyst production is presented as an effective alternative to increase the efficiency of the in vitro embryo production technique applied to the buffalo species.
Abstract in English:Abstract Currently, considering cryopreservation of bull semen, there is no clear consensus over the comparability of cryoprotective efficacy of extenders with soybean lecithin and those based on egg yolk. The objective of this study was to prove the use of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) extracted from hen-egg yolk as an enhancing factor for soybean lecithin-based extenders. In total, 35 ejaculates of (seven bulls x five ejaculates per bull) were collected and cryopreserved at a commercial insemination centre. The effect of the LDL addition to the extenders AndroMed® and Bioxcell® was tested in a 6% (v/v) concentration on spermatozoa after thawing. Modified extender composition effects were assessed on sperm functional parameters motility, plasma membrane, mitochondrial membrane potential and acrosomal integrity after thawing by CASA, flow cytometry and fluorescent microscopy, respectively. Based on kinematic parameters determined from CASA, k-means cluster analysis was used to classify individual spermatozoon into specific subpopulations (fast, medium fast and slow). A subpopulation of fast spermatozoa was increased in the presence of LDL in both selected extenders (P < 0.05). Moreover, the positive effect of LDL on sperm motility was confirmed by decreasing the percentage of sperm in slow subpopulation (P < 0.05). The effect of LDL addition on the incidence of spermatozoa with intact plasma membrane was not demonstrated in any case of extender used (P > 0.05). The percentage of sperm with intact acrosome was improved when LDL was added to Bioxcell® extender (P < 0.05). On the other hand, addition of LDL to AndroMed® extender improved mitochondrial intactness after thawing (P < 0.05). In conclusion, our results showed that adding LDL to selected soybean lecithin-based extenders considerably ameliorated the functional parameters of spermatozoa after thawing and thus this lipoprotein could represent an improving agent for soybean lecithin-based extender for bull semen cryopreservation.
Abstract in English:Abstract The objective of this study was to assess the stemness marker expressions (Oct4, Nanog, and Sox2) of granulosa cells (GCs) collected from bovine ovarian follicles and in vitro expansion. The single bovine ovarian follicles were isolated and categorized into 4 groups according to their diameter including group A (<2 mm), group B (2-3 mm), group C (3-4 mm), and group D (>4 mm). Quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and immunostaining were applied to evaluate the stemness marker expression of bovine GCs from ovarian follicles. We also estimated the stemness marker transcript expressions of GCs during in vitro expression by qRT-PCR. qRT-PCR analysis demonstrated that fresh GCs from bovine ovarian follicles expressed the stemness markers (Oct4, Nanog, Sox2). These markers were down-regulated during antral stage follicular development. We also estimated stemness marker transcript expressions of GCs which were isolated and in vitro expanded from ovarian follicles of group A. The qRT-PCR results showed that Oct4 and Sox2 transcript expressions were reduced during in vitro expansion while Nanog transcript was not expressed.
Abstract in English:Abstract The aim of this study was to compare the post-thaw distribution of motile sperm subpopulations, following simple or colloid centrifugation. A new analysis was used to evaluate the available number of sperm from each subpopulation after each centrifugation protocol. Frozen/thawed semen samples were divided into the following after-thawing treatments: uncentrifuged control (UDC), sperm washing (SW) and two colloid centrifugation procedures (Equipure, SLC-E, and Androcoll, SLC-A). Percentage of total and progressive motility (TM and PM), as well as sperm motility kinematics, distribution of motile sperm subpopulations, and recovery rates, were statistically compared among treatments. The SLC treatments showed higher (P < 0.001) TM and PM than UDC and SW. Following each SLC procedure, different percentages of the subpopulation with the most vigorous and progressive sperm (sP4) were obtained. SLC-A recovered a larger number of sperm belonging to sP4 than SLC-E, but not significantly higher than SW. From a practical point of view, sperm washing, the standard centrifugation procedure for equine semen processing, recovered the same amount of fast and progressive sperm as colloid centrifugation, apparently the best treatment according to traditional analysis. In conclusion, samples processed by SLC have higher motility percentages than SW and UDC but, after combining the available number of sperm, SLC and SW techniques are equally efficient in recovering sperm from the most vigorous, fast and progressive motile subpopulation (sP4).
Abstract in English:Abstract Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) is a valuable tool for gene expression studies and it is necessary to choose an ideal endogenous reference gene for data normalization. This work studied a set of reference genes in oocytes and cumulus cells of COCs (Cumulus-Oocyte Complexes) that are suitable for relative gene expression analyses after in vitro maturation (IVM) in bovine. Immature COCs were collected from ovaries of Nelore cattle (Bos indicus) and submitted to IVM. MII oocytes and cumulus cells were subjected to RNA extraction, reverse transcription and preamplification of cDNA. The expression level of eight reference genes (ACTB, GADPH, B2M, H2AFZ, GUSB, HPRT1, PPIA, and TBP) was measured by real time PCR and analyzed by geNorm software. The gene stability measure (M) was calculated and the ideal number of reference genes (RGs) was determined by the V value (pairwise variation). For oocyte samples, two RGs were the ideal number for relative quantification: HPRT1 and B2M and for bovine cumulus samples four were indicated: HPRT1, PPIA, B2M, and TBP genes. The normalization of a non-reference target gene (SOD1) by these reference genes was shown to be considerably different from normalization by less stable reference genes. Our results strengthen the importance of choosing good normalizing genes in order to analyze gene expression under specific experimental conditions and we suggest the use of these RGs in oocytes and cumulus cells of bovine cattle in in vitro matured COCs.
Abstract in English:Abstract The aim was to evaluate pregnancy success after transfer of embryos vitrified in micropipette tips in Merino sheep under extensive conditions. A second objective was to evaluate the influence of embryo stage in such pregnancy rate. One hundred and twenty-seven embryos were rewarmed and transferred into recipient ewes. On rewarming, the embryos were placed into three-step cryoprotectant dilutions. Finally, prior to transfer to recipient females, embryos were maintained in Basic Medium for 5 min at 25ºC and were re-evaluated by morphological criteria; all degenerated embryos were eliminated. Recipient ewes (n = 150) were treated for estrus with sponges placed for 14 days and 300 IU of eCG. At embryo transfer, three experimental groups were defined: morulae transferred on Day 7, blastocysts transferred on Day 7 and blastocysts transferred on Day 8 after sponge removal. In all groups, semi-laparoscopic transfer of one rewarmed embryo per recipient was performed. Pregnancy was diagnosed by ultrasonography on day 28 after embryo transfer. The embryo selection rate after rewarming was higher for blastocysts (89.3% - 67/75) compared to morulae (65.9% - 60/91) (P < 0.05). Pregnancy diagnosis showed a 38.3% (23/60) of success after morula transfer on Day 7 post progestagen removal. The day of transfer showed a significant influence on pregnancy rate after blastocyst transfer (Day 8, 55.9% - 19/34 vs Day 7, 21.2% - 7/33) (P < 0.05). Blastocysts transfer on Day 8 showed the highest global efficiency (pregnancies/total embryos after rewarming) (47.5% - 19/40) (P < 0.05). In conclusion, reproductive efficiency obtained by vitrified embryo transfer allows its recommendation for embryo transfer programs under extensive conditions. The importance of considering the synchrony between the embryo age and the recipient uterus stage is emphasized.
Abstract in English:Abstract Progesterone plays an important role in the reproductive function and follicular development in mammals. The aim of the present study was to examine the localization of progesterone receptor alpha (PRA) in ovary of pseudopregnant rabbit by immunohistochemical methods. Samples were collected from 14 h. to 18 days of pseudopregnancy. At the first stage of pseudopregnancy (14 h.), the rabbit ovary showed moderate immunostaining of PRA in the granulosa cells and theca interna cells of preovulatory follicle and in the stroma cells. At the middle stage of pseudopregnancy (3-7 days), the rabbit ovary showed strong immunostaining of PRA in ovarian surface epithelial cells, follicular cells of the primary follicle, granulosa cells and theca interna cells of the growing and antral follicles. Moderate immunoexpression of PRA were observed in the large lutein cells and endothelial cells of the corpus haemorrhagicum and corpus luteum and in the stroma cells. At the end of pseudopregnancy (18 days) strong PRA reactions were detected in the small lutein cells of the regressed corpus luteum. Moderate to strong PRA immuno-expression were observed in the proliferated theca interna cells of the atretic antral follicles. The atretic large lutein cells of the regressed corpus luteum showed negative immunostaining for PRA. This study showed that the PRA positive small lutein cells of the regressed corpus luteum and the PRA positive proliferated theca interna cells of the atretic antral follicles were transformed into PRA positive interstitial gland cells. In conclusion, the present study had described the distribution of PRA in the ovary of pseudopregnant rabbit, which is not discussed before in the available literature. It also gives more information about follicular dynamic, formation and origin of interstitial glands, mechanism of ovulation, formation and regression of the corpus luteum.
Abstract in English:Abstract The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of season and pregnancy stage on the temperature of various body areas of Holstein cows using digital infrared thermography, an effective and non-invasive technique. The temperature was recorded at several areas of the body surface to determine the most reliable body area for measurement of rectal temperature in pregnant and non-pregnant animals. Holstein cows (n = 24) were divided into groups according to their physiological stage. The experimental period was 365 days, containing a dry (April-September) and rainy (October-March) season, with parameters measured every 28 days. Thermographic data for different body areas, rectal thermometry, ultrasonography, and climatic data were collected between 7:00 and 9:00. Thermogram-recorded temperatures significantly differed (P < 0.05) between seasons and reproductive phases. Moreover, significant differences were noted between the temperatures of the flank, lateral udder, and perineal areas across seasons (P < 0.05). The udder, perineal, and rectal temperatures differed according to the reproductive phase (P < 0.05). Significant correlations (P < 0.01) were observed between reproductive phases and rectal, ocular globe, snout, flank, and perineum temperature. The body areas examined by thermographic imaging presented different temperatures, exhibiting physiological variation. Season and physiological stage influenced the temperature of body areas of milk cows.
Abstract in English:Abstract Establishment of pregnancy after embryo transfer is the ultimate goal of an embryo transfer program and increasing pregnancy rates and reducing pregnancy loss are mandatory. The utilization of treatments to improve conception rates in recipient mares has been the focus of several research groups over the last years and the results are controversial. Some studies using human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) found promising results. Our hypothesis was that hCG administration would cause an additional stimulation on luteal function, uterine and luteal vascularization and progesterone concentration, and the mares would have increased uterine and cervix tone. Therefore, in the present study the effects of hCG administration to induce ovulation, on day 0 (day of ovulation) or day 5 postovulation were evaluated on corpus luteum characteristics, reproductive tract vascularization, and serum progesterone concentration from ovulation until day 15 postovulation. Groups were: G1: (control) - no hCG; G2: 2500 IU of hCG to induce ovulation when a follicle greater than 35mm and uterine edema were detected; G3: 2500 IU hCG on day 0; G4: 2500 IU hCG on day 5 postovulation. Twelve mares were randomly assigned to each group, during consecutive cycles, in a Latin Square experimental design, in a total of 48 cycles. Doppler ultrasound evaluations were performed daily from day 0 until day 15 postovulation, including mesometrial vascularity, endometrial vascularity and corpus luteum vascularity. Blood samples were collected for serum progesterone concentration. Data was analyzed using the Proc Glimmix SAS Procedure for nonparametric variables and Proc Mixed for parametric parameters. There was no treatment effect for all variables studied (P > 0.05). Characteristics were only affected by day (P < 0.05). It can be concluded that hCG administration at the time points suggested in the current study did not alter the characteristics evaluated.
Abstract in English:Abstract The immune system is mainly responsible for protecting the organism against agents that may interfere in its homeostasis. Thus, understand how this system develops and operates is very important, for create new therapies to assist this system in its operation, such as its failure. In domestic dogs, few studies show how actually occurs the development, maturation and functioning of the immune system. Therefore, this study demonstrates the development and possible activation of it on dog fetus from late gestational period by in situ and microscopic analyzes.
Abstract in English:Abstract Liver plays important roles in the innate and adaptive immunity, and contributes to the maternal immune adjustments during pregnancy in mice and rats. T helper 1 (Th1) and Th2 cytokines are related to immune response. However, expression of Th1 and Th2 cytokines in maternal livers is unclear during early pregnancy in sheep. In this study, livers were collected on day 16 of the estrous cycle and on days 13, 16 and 25 of pregnancy (n = 6 for each group) in ewes, and qRT-PCR, western blot and immunohistochemistry were used to analyze the expression of Th1 and Th2 cytokines in the livers. Our results showed that interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-6 and IL-10 were downregulated, and IL-5 was upregulated in the livers during early pregnancy. Furthermore, there was no effect for early pregnancy on expression of TNF-β in the livers, and the IFN-γ protein was limited to the endothelial cells of the proper hepatic arteries and portal veins. In conclusion, early pregnancy exerted its effect on the liver to regulate the Th cytokines expression, but there was no evident shift from Th1 to Th2 cytokines, which may be necessary for the maternal hepatic immune adjustments during early pregnancy in sheep.
Abstract in English:Abstract The objective of this study was to compare the BotuCrio® extender with the Merk - egg yolk and the INRA 82 modified by the inclusion of acetamide, methyl cellulose and trehalose in substitution of glycerol for freezing equine semen. The semen was diluted after centrifugation to obtain 100 x 106 of sperm/ml in: BotuCrio® (control); Merk - egg yolk or INRA 82 modified (Experiment 1). The extended semen was packaged in 0.5 ml straws, cooled and frozen in a freezing machine. The control extender was superior in preserving the motility, VCL, VSL, VAP, LIN, STR and the BCF when compared to the Merk - egg yolk and INRA 82 modified (P < 0.05). The BotuCrio® preserved more effectively the equine sperm viability characteristics evaluated in Experiment 1 and was used as a control extender in Experiment 2 to test the effectiveness of using LDL in replacement of egg yolk. BotuCrio® was superior to preserve progressive motility, VCL, VSL, VAP, LIN, STR and the percentage of functional integrity of sperm membranes compared to BotuCrio LDL (P < 0.05). However, both extenders preserved similarly the total motility, ALH, BCF and the structural integrity of the membranes (P > 0.05). The fertility rate after AI with frozen semen in BotuCrio LDL was 37.5%.
Abstract in English:Abstract This study aimed to evaluate the effect of two Embryo Manipulation Solutions (EMS and EMS supplemented) in maintenance of the viability of embryos, initially using structures derived from mice (first phase). Next, the efficiency of these solutions in routines of bovine embryo transfer was evaluated (second stage). Mice embryos were used in the stages of early blastocyst, and compact morula grades I and II. These embryos were initially randomly distributed and maintained for four hours in three solutions: Modified phosphate buffered saline (PBS; Control); EMS (treatment 1), and EMS supplemented (treatment 2). Subsequently, they were cultured in TCM 199 medium and evaluated in terms of total number of cells, morphometric characteristics, ultra structural aspects, detection of cell apoptosis, and quantification of Hsp70.3 gene expression. In the second phase, these same solutions were tested in the transfer of quality I and II bovine embryos (excellent and good). These embryos were transferred fresh to 58 recipients. The results showed that the total number of cells in embryos expanded blastocyst (ExB), the number of apoptotic cells, the cell, nuclear, nucleolar diameter and the nucleus/nucleolus ratio was similar among the treatments. The pregnancy rate shown on second phase was also similar. However, the EMS supplemented expressed more Hsp70.3 than EMS. The expression of Hsp70.3 was also greater for embryos in EMS than that of EMS supplemented. The McII embryos, EMS and EMS supplemented samples also expressed more Hsp70.3 compared to control embryos. In conclusion, the tested solutions can be used in routine embryo transfer techniques, replacing modified PBS solution as an effective media in maintaining embryo viability.