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Reproduction, Fertility and Development
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RFD is the official journal of the International Embryo Transfer Society and the Society for Reproductive Biology.


 
 

Reproduction, Fertility and Development publishes research and reviews on all aspects of vertebrate reproduction and developmental biology. More

Editor-in-Chief: Tony Flint 

 
 
 

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Published online 14 January 2015
Frequency of exogenous hormone therapy impacts spermiation in male Fowler 
Caitlin E. McDonough, Michelle W. Martin, Carrie K. Vance, Judith A. Cole and Andrew J. Kouba

Amphibians are experiencing a global extinction crisis and captive assurance colonies in zoos and aquariums are unsustainable over the long-term due to poor reproduction. In this study, we aimed to improve our understanding of the use of hormone therapy in male toads for sperm collection. Our results have clear implications that frequent hormone-induced spermiation could have a negative effect on sperm production and we recommend that hormone injections be spaced a minimum of 2 weeks apart to optimise the health of the animals and provide optimum sperm quality for assisted reproductive technologies.

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Published online 14 January 2015
The effects of glucuronic acid and N-acetyl-D-glucosamine on in vitro fertilisation of porcine oocytes 
K. Schmidt, A. Clark, A. Mello, C. Durfey, A. Buck, K. Boyd and B. D. Whitaker

Reducing the incidence of polyspermic penetration may aid in improving embryonic development and further the understanding of fertilisation in pigs. This study reveals that by supplementing oocytes with perivitelline space components, the space thickness increases and polyspermic penetration is reduced. The findings highlight the need for adequate environments to improve the maturation of oocytes prior to fertilisation.

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Published online 13 January 2015
Maternal treatment with fluoxetine promotes testicular alteration in male rat pups 
Aline C. Ramos, Alice H. dos Santos, Kennia M. Silveira, Ana Carolina I. Kiss, Suzana F. P. Mesquita and Daniela C. C. Gerardin

Previous results obtained in our laboratory showed that maternal exposure to fluoxetine (FLX) alters testicular morphometric parameters in adult male offspring. The present study investigated the effects of maternal FLX exposure on maternal behavior and on testes function offspring in the weanling and pubertal periods in rats. FLX treatment did not impair mother–pup interactions; however, it could impair testicular function in offspring.

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Published online 13 January 2015
Genetic influence on the reduction in bovine embryo lipid content by l-carnitine 
Luis Baldoceda, Dominic Gagné, Christina Ramires Ferreira and Claude Robert

Holstein and Jersey embryos display difference in term of lipid profile and molecular characteristics, suggesting a variance in lipid metabolism. Using L-carnitine, we noticed a reduction in embryonic lipid content for both breeds, but the response to treatment is weaker in the Jersey. L-carnitine supplementation reduces lipid content of blastomere and offers the potential to improve cryopreservation success.

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Published online 07 January 2015
Characterisation of several ankyrin repeat protein variant 2, a phosphoprotein phosphatase 1-interacting protein, in testis and spermatozoa 
Joana Vieira Silva, Luís Korrodi-Gregório, Georg Luers, Maria João Cardoso, António Patrício, Nuno Maia, Edgar F. da Cruz e Silva and Margarida Fardilha

Phosphoprotein phosphatase 1 (PPP1) is essential for male fertility and the key to understanding PPP1 function lies in the identification of its interacting partners. This study was undertaken to characterise several ankyrin repeat protein variant 2 (SARP2), a PPP1-interacting protein, highly enriched in testis and spermatozoa. Given the expression pattern of SARP2 and its association with PPP1 and sperm-associated antigen 9, we suggest that it plays a role in spermiogenesis and sperm function, namely in sperm motility and the acrosome reaction.

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Published online 07 January 2015
Expression and function of transcription factor AP-2γ in early embryonic development of porcine parthenotes 
Sung-Hyun Lee, Jung-Woo Kwon, Inchul Choi and Nam-Hyung Kim

This is the first study to report on the expression and functions of transcription factor activator protein (AP) 2γ in pig embryos. AP2γ was detected at all stages during preimplantation and depletion negatively affected early embryo development. These findings suggest that AP2γ may play a role in critical cellular events, including cell adhesion, proliferation and cell fate, during preimplantation development.

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Published online 07 January 2015
Prenatally administered dexamethasone impairs folliculogenesis in spiny mouse offspring 
Monika Hułas-Stasiak, Piotr Dobrowolski and Ewa Tomaszewska

Prenatal exposure to dexamethasone causes developmental alterations in the ovaries of offspring. This study demonstrates that dexamethasone administered during the fetal period enhances follicular atresia by activating programmed cell death, which, in turn, depletes the stock of ovarian follicles and can lead to reduction of fertility in adult females. The findings highlight the need for careful use of dexamethasone in pregnant women.

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Published online 07 January 2015
Gelatinases and their tissue inhibitors are associated with oxidative stress: a potential set of markers connected with male infertility 
Ewa M. Kratz, Anna Kałuża, Mirosława Ferens-Sieczkowska, Beata Olejnik, Renata Fiutek, Mariusz Zimmer and Agnieszka Piwowar

The search for new diagnostic markers of male infertility takes into account factors other than sperm characteristics. The expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 and MMP-2 may be regulated by oxidative stress in various pathophysiological processes. Thus, the presence of seminal MMPs, their tissue inhibitors (tissue-specific inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1, TIMP-2) and their correlation with levels of oxidative stress parameters (i.e. advanced oxidation protein products (AOPP)) is interesting in the context of male fertility. High AOPP and an increased MMP-9 : TIMP-1 ratio alters the oxidative–antioxidative balance of the ejaculate, thereby reducing male fertility. Thus, reducing male fertility, and therefore these parameters may serve as additional diagnostic markers of semen quality and male reproductive potential.

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Published online 07 January 2015
Cooled semen for fixed-time artificial insemination in beef cattle 
Juliana C. Borges-Silva, Márcio R. Silva, Daniel B. Marinho, Eriklis Nogueira, Deiler C. Sampaio, Luiz Orcírio F. Oliveira, Urbano G. P. Abreu, Gerson B. Mourão and Roberto Sartori

Oestradiol-based fixed-time artificial insemination (FTAI) programs have a relatively wide window of time for ovulation that may decrease pregnancy per AI (P AI–1) depending on semen processing. We have shown a 20% increase in P AI–1 in beef cattle when cooled versus frozen–thawed semen was used, because of better sperm quality and longevity.

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Published online 07 January 2015
Increased mRNA expression of selected pro-inflammatory factors in inflamed bovine endometrium in vivo as well as in endometrial epithelial cells exposed to Bacillus pumilus in vitro 
Martina A. Gärtner, Sarah Peter, Markus Jung, Marc Drillich, Ralf Einspanier and Christoph Gabler

Inflammatory processes in the bovine endometrium caused by bacterial infection often result in reduced fertility. We aimed to elucidate the first inflammatory response of the bovine endometrium. Increased mRNA expression of pro-inflammatory factors was connected to inflammation in vivo and was provoked in endometrial epithelial cells co-cultured with the potentially pathogenic Bacillus pumilus. These findings suggest that the endometrium can react promptly to bacterial infections.

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Published online 07 January 2015
Histochemical structure and immunolocalisation of the hyaluronan system in the dromedary oviduct 
Omnia Mohey-Elsaeed, Waleed F. A. Marei, Ali A. Fouladi-Nashta and Abdel-Aleem A. El-Saba

Hyaluronic acid is a major component of the extracellular matrix and is also found in body fluids. We show immunohistochemical localization of its synthases, main receptor and degrading enzymes in the camel oviduct. Regional differences in its synthesis and degradation suggest a differential role in the oviduct–gamete interaction in the ampulla and isthmus.

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Published online 05 January 2015
Actin crosslinking protein filamin A during early pregnancy in the rat uterus 
Romanthi J. Madawala, Connie E. Poon, Samson N. Dowland and Christopher R. Murphy

Filamin A is an actin-binding protein that was found to be associated with actin cytoskeletal remodelling of both luminal uterine epithelial cells (UECs) and endometrial stromal cells (ESCs) during early pregnancy. The distribution of filamin A in the endometrium was influenced by deciduogenic factors, while distribution of filamin A was found to be dependent on ovarian hormones. The expression of filamin A in the endometrium during early pregnancy contributes to the molecular and morphological changes that both UECS and ESCs undergo in order for them to be receptive to implantation by contributing to the remodelling of the actin cytoskeleton and hence the maintenance of plasma membrane stability of UECs and ESCs during early pregnancy.

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Published online 05 January 2015
Creation of DNA aptamers against recombinant bone morphogenetic protein 15 
Jun Sheng Lin, Alexia Kauff, Yong Diao, Huiyong Yang, Steve Lawrence and Jennifer L. Juengel

The oocyte-derived growth factor bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) 15 plays important roles in fertility, but its mechanism of action remains poorly understood. Sequences of single-stranded DNA specifically recognising BMP15 have been generated by a directed molecular evolutionary process. These special sequences (aptamers) can be used as a tool to detect BMP15 and decipher its biological actions.

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Published online 05 January 2015
Effects of dietary quercetin on female fertility in mice: implication of transglutaminase 2 
Kelly E. Beazley and Maria Nurminskaya

Increasing use of dietary supplementation with bioflavonoids such as quercetin raises concerns about their potential impacts on reproductive health. Here we show a negative impact of quercetin consumption on female fertility in the animal model and identify its target, transglutaminase 2, as a novel regulator of ovarian ageing. Thus the beneficial effects of quercetin may be overshadowed in females of reproductive age.

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Published online 17 December 2014
High oxygen tension increases global methylation in bovine 4-cell embryos and blastocysts but does not affect general retrotransposon expression 
Wenwen Li, Karen Goossens, Mario Van Poucke, Katrien Forier, Kevin Braeckmans, Ann Van Soom and Luc J. Peelman

Environmental stresses can have detrimental effects on the developing embryo that resonate throughout the rest of the life of that individual. In this study we tested whether the negative effects are induced by changes the chromatin structure and, if so, whether this loosens the brake on the activity of retrotransposons. Although global chromatin changes were observed, the results indicate that retrotransposons are also held in check by other factors.

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Published online 17 December 2014
New evidence of melatonin receptor contribution to ram sperm functionality 
Marta Gonzalez-Arto, Caorlina Luna, Rosaura Pérez-Pé, Teresa Muiño-Blanco, José A. Cebrián-Pérez and Adriana Casao

This study analysed the effects of melatonin through its receptors (MT1 and MT2) on ram sperm functionality. Using immunofluorescence assays and by evaluating the effects of MT1 and MT2 receptor agonists and antagonists, we determined that the modulating effect of melatonin on ram sperm capacitation seems to be receptor mediated, primarily via MT2 receptors. These results may explain the effects of exogenous melatonin on ram fertility.

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Published online 17 December 2014
Luteotropic and luteolytic factors regulate mRNA and protein expression of progesterone receptor isoforms A and B in the bovine endometrium 
Robert Rekawiecki, Magdalena Karolina Kowalik and Jan Kotwica

Expression of nuclear progesterone receptor isoforms A and B (PGRA and PGRB, respectively) can be regulated by various factors. PGRA and PGRB mRNA and protein expression was determined in bovine endometrium after stimulation with selected luteotropic and luteolytic factors. The data suggest that these factors affect PGRA and PGRB mRNA and protein levels and, in this way, regulate the effects of progesterone on endometrial cells.

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Published online 17 December 2014
Nutrition affects Sertoli cell function but not Sertoli cell numbers in sexually mature male sheep 
Yongjuan Guan, Guanxiang Liang, Penny A. R. Hawken, Sarah J. Meachem, Irek A. Malecki, Seungmin Ham, Tom Stewart, Le Luo Guan and Graeme B. Martin

A comprehensive evaluation of Sertoli cells has been used to investigate a reversible, non-pathological change in testis mass induced by nutrition in mature sheep. Under-nutrition did not affect Sertoli cell number but did affect Sertoli cell function, including reversal of cellular differentiation and disruption of tight-junctions. These responses were associated with major decreases in the output of spermatozoa.

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Published online 17 December 2014
Embryonic developmental plasticity in the long-snouted seahorse (Hippocampus reidi, Ginsburg 1933) in relation to parental preconception diet 
Francisco Otero-Ferrer, Marisol Izquierdo, Alireza Fazeli and William V. Holt

In seahorses, embryo development occurs within the male instead of the female, leading us to ask whether the male’s brood pouch has a similar function to the mammalian placenta. We specifically investigated whether the male’s diet before conception can influence the future survival and well being of newborn seahorses. Our experiment confirmed that to optimise the health and future survival of seahorses, male parents need to be supplied with dietary unsaturated fatty acids before they become pregnant.

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Published online 17 December 2014
Impact of superovulation and mating on the wellbeing of juvenile and adult C57BL/6N mice 
Thomas Kolbe, Sarjoun Sheety, Ingrid Walter, Rupert Palme and Thomas Rülicke

Superovulation of mice is preferentially applied before sexual maturity of females is reached in order to maximize ova production. The effect of donor age in mice was evaluated with regard to distress induced by hormonal treatment and mating. Our results confirmed higher ovulation rates for immature females compared to adults and revealed no significant welfare issues for juvenile mice used for superovulation.

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Published online 08 December 2014
Prospects for immunocontraception in feral horse population control: exploring novel targets for an equine fertility vaccine 
Aleona Swegen and R. John Aitken

Rapidly growing populations of feral horses can cause significant damage to landscapes and rural economies. Animal welfare concerns along with social and ethical considerations are increasingly precluding the use of lethal control methods to maintain acceptable population sizes, while non-lethal fertility control is not yet able to provide effective alternatives. This review explores the unique aspects of equine reproductive physiology that may provide opportunity for developing novel fertility vaccine strategies.

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Published online 08 December 2014
Comparative efficacies of six different media for cryopreservation of immature buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) calf testis 
Lalitha Devi, Himesh Makala, Lavanya Pothana, Khemlal Nirmalkar and Sandeep Goel

Testis cryopreservation is an efficient tool for preservation of the genetic potential of immature males that die before attaining sexual maturity. This is especially useful for buffalo calves that suffer a high mortality rate. Our results show that an optimum concentration of dimethylsulfoxide and fetal bovine serum could effectively preserve immature buffalo testicular tissues subjected to an uncontrolled slow-freezing protocol. Our findings encourage the cryo-banking of immature buffalo testicular tissues.

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Published online 04 December 2014
Cryotolerance of porcine in vitro-produced blastocysts relies on blastocyst stage and length of in vitro culture prior to vitrification 
Roser Morató, Míriam Castillo-Martín, Marc Yeste and Sergi Bonet

The ability to correctly select viable embryos is relevant to improving pregnancy rates and avoiding futile transfer attempts. Herein, we assess whether the cryotolerance of in vitro-produced embryos could be influenced by the length of in vitro culture and size of blastocoel cavity prior to vitrification. Faster embryo development underlies higher blastocyst cryotolerance. The best results for survival after warming were obtained with the vitrification of porcine blastocysts presenting a high degree of expansion, particularly when vitrification was performed after 6 days of in vitro embryo culture .

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Published online 03 December 2014
Controlled hydrostatic pressure stress downregulates the expression of ribosomal genes in preimplantation embryos: a possible protection mechanism? 
I. Bock, H. Raveh-Amit, E. Losonczi, A. C. Carstea, A. Feher, K. Mashayekhi, S. Matyas, A. Dinnyes and C. Pribenszky

Stress tolerance of gametes and embryos can be increased by preconditioning with hydrostatic pressure (HP) treatment. To study the effect of HP, mouse oocytes were treated, fertilised and then analysed by gene expression microarray at the 4-cell stage. The results revealed that numerous ribosomal genes were downregulated after HP treatment, suggesting that regulation of translation has a major role in hydrostatic pressure-induced stress tolerance.

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Published online 03 December 2014
Sexual maturation of the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus): a histological, hormonal and spermatic evaluation 
Maria Etelvina Pinto-Fochi, Ana Carolina Negrin, Wellerson Rodrigo Scarano, Sebastião Roberto Taboga and Rejane Maira Góes

Several reproductive aspects of Mongolian gerbil still remain unknown. This study determined the phases of sexual development of this rodent based on an integrative analysis of testicular morphology, hormonal data and sperm parameters. In terms of laboratory rodents, the gerbil has a similar reproductive profile with the rat. These reproductive data provide new foundations for future investigations involving toxicological or developmental studies with this species.

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Published online 02 December 2014
Cellular changes in the hamster testicular interstitium with ageing and after exposure to short photoperiod 
E. Beltrán-Frutos, V. Seco-Rovira, C. Ferrer, J. F. Madrid, F. J. Sáez, M. Canteras and L. M. Pastor

The testicular interstitium is responsible for endocrine function in the testis. We have studied the cellular changes in two physiological processes of testicular involution, one reversible due to exposure to short photoperiod and the other irreversible due to ageing. These processes induce very different changes in the cells. These differences are probably related to cell turnover in the testicular interstitium and to the non-apoptotic but necrotic character of Leydig cell death.

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Published online 28 November 2014
Involvement of prolactin in the meloxicam-dependent inflammatory response of the gonadotropic axis to prolonged lipopolysaccharide treatment in anoestrous ewes 
Andrzej P. Herman, Agata Krawczyńska, Joanna Bochenek, Hanna Antushevich, Anna Herman and Dorota Tomaszewska-Zaremba

An immune challenge can affect the reproductive process in females. In this study, performed in ewes, we demonstrated that inhibition of cyclo-oxygenase 2 by meloxicam could minimise the negative effect of systemic inflammation induced by seven injections of bacterial endotoxin on gonadotropin-releasing hormone and LH secretion. However, the effectiveness of meloxicam treatment may be reduced during an inflammatory state characterized by high levels of prolactin.

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Published online 27 November 2014
Localisation and endocrine control of hyaluronan synthase (HAS) 2, HAS3 and CD44 expression in sheep granulosa cells 
R. Chavoshinejad, W. F. A. Marei, G. M. Hartshorne and A. A. Fouladi-Nashta

We localised hyaluronan (HA) synthases (HAS) 1–3 and their main receptor CD44 in sheep antral follicles, showing intense staining in granulosa cells. Analyses of hormonal regulation of the HA system in cultured sheep granulosa cells indicated differential regulation of HAS2, HAS3 and CD44 expression by oestradiol, insulin-like growth factor, insulin and gonadotropins.

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Published online 27 November 2014
Stable reference genes in granulosa cells of bovine dominant follicles during follicular growth, FSH stimulation and maternal aging 
Muhammad Irfan-ur-Rehman Khan, Fernanda Caminha Faustino Dias, Isabelle Dufort, Vikram Misra, Marc-Andre Sirard and Jaswant Singh

Little is known about stability of reference genes during dominant follicle development. This study examined the expression of a number of granulosa cell genes during ovarian superstimulation and maternal aging in cattle. Results support the use of the geometric mean of four genes (UBE2D2, EIF2B2, GAPDH and SF3A1) for relative gene expression analyses of granulosa cells during maternal and follicular aging.

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Published online 26 November 2014
Taking control of the female fertile lifespan: a key role for Bcl-2 family proteins 
Seng H. Liew, Kavitha Vaithiyanathan and Karla J. Hutt

The number of eggs laid down in the ovary at birth and subsequently maintained during reproductive life influences the length of the female fertile lifespan. Recent studies have revealed a critical role for cell death regulators belonging to the BCL-2 protein family in determining how many eggs are available to females to support fertility. This review summarises our current understanding of the proteins responsible for initiating and mediating cell death during the establishment and maintenance of the female germline.

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Published online 25 November 2014
Suppressed expression of macrophage migration inhibitory factor in the oviducts of lean and obese cows 
Asrafun Nahar and Hiroya Kadokawa

Oviducts synthesise macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) to promote sperm capacitation and embryogenesis. We discovered that both obese and lean Japanese Black cows have suppressed expression of MIF mRNA and protein in the ampullae and isthmuses of their oviducts. Therefore, maternal nutritional condition may change expression of oviductal MIF, which plays important roles in fertilisation and early embryo development.

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Published online 21 November 2014
Association of C677T transition of the human methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene with male infertility 
Mohammad Karimian and Abasalt Hosseinzadeh Colagar

The human methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene, located at chromosome 1p36.3, is associated with male infertility. Previous reports reported that the common polymorphisms C677T, A1298C and G1793A may be related to infertility. This study shows that the C677T transition plays an important role in the change in affinity of the MTHFR–Flavin adenine dinucleotide binding site, increasing the risk of infertility.

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Published online 20 November 2014
Prepubertal male rats with high rates of germ-cell apoptosis present exacerbated rates of germ-cell apoptosis after serotonin depletion 
Néstor Méndez Palacios, María Elena Ayala Escobar, Maximino Méndez Mendoza, Rubén Huerta Crispín, Octavio Guerrero Andrade, Javier Hernández Melández and Andrés Aragón Martínez

Genetic expression could be behind individual sensitivity to chemical substances. Here we show that individuals with innate low or high levels of germ-cell death have distinct gene expression and that levels of germ-cell death changed differentially after administration of amphetamine. This helps both to understand the exacerbated response to drugs by some individuals and to develop a rationale in individualised medicine.

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Published online 20 November 2014
Effect of spontaneous term labour on the expression of the NR4A receptors nuclear receptor related 1 protein (Nurr1), neuron-derived clone 77 (Nur77) and neuron-derived orphan receptor 1 (NOR1) in human fetal membranes and myometrium 
Martha Lappas

The upstream mechanisms involved in the processes of human labour are yet to be fully elucidated. This study shows that members of the nuclear receptor subfamily 4A (NR4A) are increased in fetal membranes and myometrium obtained from women after spontaneous term labour onset, and in the presence of various bacterial products. These findings suggest that NR4A family members may play a role in the processes of human labour including fetal membrane rupture and myometrial contractions.

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Published online 20 November 2014
Treatment of buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) donor cells with trichostatin A and 5-aza-2 
M. Saini, N. L. Selokar, H. Agrawal, S. K. Singla, M. S. Chauhan, R. S. Manik and P. Palta

Skin cells are widely used as nuclear donors for producing cloned animals. We showed that treatment of these cells with certain chemical agents, which affect their DNA and the proteins associated with it, alters the characteristics and improves the clonability of these cells. This could help to improve the yield and quality of cloned embryos derived from skin cells.

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Published online 19 November 2014
Association of decreased spermatozoa omega-3 fatty acid levels and increased oxidative DNA damage with varicocele in infertile men: a case control study 
Li-Xin Tang, Dong-Juan Yuan, Qi-Ling Wang, Fang Jiang, Jian Guo, Yun-Ge Tang, Li-Xin Zheng and Jing X. Kang

Identifying the abnormalities in spermatozoa of infertile men may aid in the development of new interventions for infertility. This study reveals that infertile men with varicocele have lower omega-3 fatty acids levels and greater oxidative DNA damage in their spermatozoa. The findings highlight the need for intervention trials to test the usefulness of omega-3 supplementation in reducing sperm abnormalities in infertile men with varicocele.

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Published online 17 November 2014
CXADR-like membrane protein (CLMP) in the rat ovary: stimulation by human chorionic gonadotrophin during the periovulatory period 
Feixue Li, Xiaoping Miao, Yonglong Chen and Thomas E. Curry

Cell–cell adhesion is important for cellular communication, cellular structure and steroidogenesis. The present study demonstrates that an ovulatory stimulus of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) stimulates ovarian expression of the cell adhesion molecule CXADR-like membrane protein (CLMP). The hCG induction of Clmp mRNA is mediated through the protein kinase A signalling pathway by activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor and requires the synthesis of new protein. The temporal stimulation of ovarian CLMP may be important in cell adhesion events during ovulation and luteal formation.

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Published online 17 November 2014
Neonatal testicular cell transplantation restores murine spermatogenesis damaged in the course of herpes simplex virus-induced orchitis 
Ekaterina A. Malolina, Andrey Yu. Kulibin and Alla A. Kushch

There is growing evidence that viral infections of the genital tract may contribute to male infertility and cause orchitis. The present study was carried out to develop cell therapy for this disorder. We revealed that a combination of antiviral therapy and neonatal testis-cell transplantation is effective for restoration of murine spermatogenesis damaged by herpes simplex virus infection.

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Published online 13 November 2014
N-Acetylcysteine improves oocyte and embryo quality in polycystic ovary syndrome patients undergoing intracytoplasmic sperm injection: an alternative to metformin 
Ebrahim Cheraghi, Malek Soleimani Mehranjani, Mohammad Ali Shariatzadeh, Mohammad Hossein Nasr Esfahani and Zahra Ebrahimi

Although the number of oocytes in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is usually greater than normal following ovulation stimulation, these oocytes are often of low quality. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of metformin and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) on follicular fluid parameters, as well as oocyte and embryo quality, in Iranian women with PCOS. We conclude that NAC improves oocyte and embryo quality, and could be administered as an alternative to metformin.

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Published online 13 November 2014
Leukotriene production profiles and actions in the bovine endometrium during the oestrous cycle 
Anna J. Korzekwa, Robert Milewski, Martyna Łupicka and Dariusz J. Skarzynski

Leukotrienes are involved in reproductive functions in cows; however, their particular role in endometrium is unknown. The aim of the study was to elucidate the actions of leukotriene B4 and C4 in the bovine uterus. We demonstrated that these eicosanoids are produced, secreted and act in the endometrium depending upon the luteal stage. The results indicate multiple actions of leukotrienes in the bovine reproductive tract.

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Published online 11 November 2014
Inhibition of angiopoietin-1 (ANGPT1) affects vascular integrity in ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) 
Leopoldina Scotti, Dalhia Abramovich, Natalia Pascuali, Luis Haro Durand, Griselda Irusta, Ignacio de Zúñiga, Marta Tesone and Fernanda Parborell

OHSS is a disorder associated with ovarian stimulation and is characterised by ovarian enlargement and vascular permeability. The aim was to investigate the effect of follicular fluid from women at risk of OHSS, in the presence of an ANGPT1 inhibitor, on the chorioallantoic membrane assay and in endothelial cell culture. Our findings suggest that ANGPT1 increases pathophysiological angiogenesis in patients at risk of OHSS.

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Published online 07 November 2014
Ovarian acyclicity in zoo African elephants (Loxodonta africana) is associated with high body condition scores and elevated serum insulin and leptin 
Kari A. Morfeld and Janine L. Brown

There is growing concern that obesity is negatively impacting health of many species – including the world’s largest land mammal – the elephant. This study provides the first evidence that poor reproduction in zoo African elephants is related to excessive body fat and altered levels of obesity-related hormones. Promoting weight loss in non-cycling females with the goal of improving metabolic health and resumption of ovarian activity may combat the non-sustainability of zoo African elephant populations.

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Published online 07 November 2014
Influences of melatonin treatment, melatonin receptor 1A (MTNR1A) and kisspeptin (KiSS-1) gene polymorphisms on first conception in Sarda ewe lambs 
S. Luridiana, M. C. Mura, C. Daga, G. Cosso, S. Bodano, F. Farci, F. Zidda and V. Carcangiu

Many factors are involved in the onset of reproductive activity in sheep, such as melatonin, its own receptor gene (MTNR1A) and kisspeptin (KiSS-1) gene. The aim of this study was to investigate if melatonin implants and MTNR1A and KiSS-1 gene polymorphisms can advance the first conception; we found that the G/G genotype of the MTNR1A gene improved the reproductive response to melatonin treatment. Understanding the mechanisms of melatonin function may improve reproductive performance in sheep.

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Published online 05 November 2014
Endothelin as a local regulating factor in the bovine oviduct 
Yuki Yamamoto, Misa Kohka, Yoshihiko Kobayashi, Izabela Woclawek-Potocka and Kiyoshi Okuda

Endothelin regulates oviductal motility, which is important for the transport of gametes and embryo. To define the endothelin system in the bovine oviduct, the production and target sites of endothelin were evaluated. All isoforms of endothelin are produced by epithelial cells and endothelin receptors localise in the smooth muscle, suggesting that the bovine oviduct possesses a local endothelin system.

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Published online 31 October 2014
Aquaporins 7 and 11 in boar spermatozoa: detection, localisation and relationship with sperm quality 
Noelia Prieto-Martínez, Ingrid Vilagran, Roser Morató, Joan E. Rodríguez-Gil, Marc Yeste and Sergi Bonet

The aquaporin protein family allows the transport of water and other solutes through cell membranes and plays a role in reproductive physiology. The present work has studied, for the first time, the presence of AQP7 and AQP11 in boar spermatozoa. Although both were identified in this species, only AQP11 was found to be related to sperm quality.

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Published online 31 October 2014
Aberrant expression of TAR DNA binding protein-43 is associated with spermatogenic disorders in men 
Divya Saro Varghese, Uma Chandran, Ambili Soumya, Sathy M. Pillai, Krishnapillai Jayakrishnan, Prabhakara P. Reddi and Pradeep G. Kumar

Defects in the molecular mechanisms involved in the production and normal functioning of spermatozoa could be a major cause of male factor infertility. We identified a strong association between the absence of a critical molecule in testicular germ cells and male factor infertility. Identification of such critical molecules and their subsequent use in diagnosing male factor infertility may improve infertility management strategies.

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    | Supplementary Material (937 KB)
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Published online 30 October 2014
Proteome profiling of the sperm maturation milieu in the rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) epididymis 
Xin Liu, Shao-Hua Jin, Xue-Xia Liu, Wen-Juan Wang and Fu-Jun Liu

The first gel-based profiling of the rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) sperm-milieu proteome was established by a two-dimensional electrophoresis map. When compared with bull and human sperm-milieu proteins, those in the rhesus monkey had a close evolutionary relationship to human. It could be used as an ideal model for the development of diagnostic and therapeutic targets for infertility or contraception.

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Published online 27 October 2014
Regulation of primordial follicle recruitment by cross-talk between the Notch and phosphatase and tensin homologue (PTEN)/AKT pathways 
Lin-Qing Wang, Jing-Cai Liu, Chun-Lei Chen, Shun-Feng Cheng, Xiao-Feng Sun, Yong Zhao, Shen Yin, Zhu-Mei Hou, Bo Pan, Cheng Ding, Wei Shen and Xi-Feng Zhang

The growth of oocytes and the development of follicles require certain pathways involved in cell proliferation and survival. However, the mechanism of primordial follicle recruitment remains largely unknown. Inhibition of the Notch signalling pathway suppressed AKT phosphorylation and the proliferation of granulosa cells. Recruitment of primordial follicles was regulated by an interaction between the Notch and PI3K/AKT signalling pathways.

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    | Supplementary Material (167 KB)
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Published online 13 October 2014
Leptin and leptin receptor are detectable in equine spermatozoa but are not involved in in vitro fertilisation 
Anna Lange-Consiglio, Bruna Corradetti, Claudia Perrini, Davide Bizzaro and Fausto Cremonesi

Leptin had effect on capacitation and acrosome reaction in human and swine spermatozoa. In this study, for the first time, mRNAs for leptin and its receptors, and their corresponding proteins were detected in equine spermatozoa. When leptin was used in our in vitro fertilisation model, results show that leptin is involved in capacitation and hyperactivation of equine spermatozoa but not in spermatozoa penetration.

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Published online 09 October 2014
Determinants of valid measurements of global changes in 5ʹ-methylcytosine and 5ʹ-hydroxymethylcytosine by immunolocalisation in the early embryo 
J. Salvaing, Y. Li, N. Beaujean and C. O'Neill

After fertilisation, the embryonic genome must undergo heavy DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation changes that are critical for its development to term. Herein, we focus on the main method used to study these epigenetic modifications in early embryos. Our work emphasises the pitfalls of this method and shows that contradictions observed in the literature can be explained to a considerable extent by its incorrect use.

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Published online 09 October 2014
Long term-cultured and cryopreserved primordial germ cells from various chicken breeds retain high proliferative potential and gonadal colonisation competency 
Céline Tonus, Karine Cloquette, Fabien Ectors, Joëlle Piret, Laurent Gillet, Nadine Antoine, Daniel Desmecht, Alain Vanderplasschen, Olivier Waroux and Luc Grobet

The ability to derive, expand and cultivate avian primordial germ cells (PGCs) without altering their biology is a prerequisite for germplasm-based avian genetic preservation and engineering purposes. We describe original and robust methods that allow long-term expansion and cryobanking of primary cultures of PGCs without obvious effects on their biological properties or their ability to colonise the genital ridges. This provides an alternative access to applications in avian biotechnology and preservation of genetic resources.

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Published online 30 September 2014
Changes in myometrial expression of progesterone receptor membrane components 1 and 2 are associated with human parturition at term 
Ray Wang, Penelope M. Sheehan and Shaun P. Brennecke

The progesterone receptor membrane components 1 and 2 (PGRMC1, PGRMC2) may be a part of the mechanism by means of which women come into labour despite continued high progesterone concentrations. Expression of PGRMC1 mRNA and protein was found to be significantly lower in myometrium from women in labour. This change may be mediated by microRNA species hsa-miR-520e.

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Published online 25 September 2014
Ultrastructure and mitochondrial numbers in pre- and postpubertal pig oocytes 
Hanne Skovsgaard Pedersen, Henrik Callesen, Peter Løvendahl, Fenghua Chen, Jens Randel Nyengaard, Nanett Kvist Nikolaisen, Peter Holm and Poul Hyttel

Prepubertal pig oocytes, used for the production of transgenic pigs as human disease models, have low developmental competence. The aim of this experiment was to describe oocyte ultrastructure and to quantify mitochondria in pre- and postpubertal pig oocytes. The ultrastructure and higher number of mitochondria in large pre- and postpubertal oocytes was compatible with higher developmental competence.

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Published online 24 September 2014
Oncostatin M and leukaemia inhibitory factor trigger signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 pathways but result in heterogeneous cellular responses in trophoblast cells 
Wittaya Chaiwangyen, Stephanie Ospina-Prieto, Diana M. Morales-Prieto, Francisco Lazaro Pereira de Sousa, Jana Pastuschek, Justine S. Fitzgerald, Ekkehard Schleussner and Udo R. Markert

Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and Oncostatin M (OSM) play important roles during implantation and placentation. This study aims to compare responses on LIF and OSM in four different trophoblastic cell lines. In all, LIF and OSM induce STAT3 and ERK1/2 phosphorylation, while only LIF significantly increases trophoblast cell invasion. Thus, both factors have similar but not identical funtions in placentation.

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Published online 19 September 2014
Decreased expression of aquaporin 2 is associated with impaired endometrial receptivity in controlled ovarian stimulation 
Dan Zhang, Gufeng Xu, Runju Zhang, Yimin Zhu, Huijuan Gao, Caiyun Zhou, Jianzhong Sheng and Hefeng Huang

This study revealed the role of auquaporin 2 (AQP2, a water channel) in impaired embryo implantation following ovarian stimulation. It was found that AQP2 was decreased in endometria of ovarian stimulated women and suppressing AQP2 led to impaired implantation. The study indicated the importance of water transportation in embryo implantation and suggested a new way to improve outcome of assisted conception.

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Published online 12 September 2014
Decreased melatonin levels and increased levels of advanced oxidation protein products in the seminal plasma are related to male infertility 
Ewa Maria Kratz, Agnieszka Piwowar, Michal Zeman, Katarína Stebelová and Theresia Thalhammer

Melatonin is a wide-spectrum antioxidant; therefore, the aim of this study was to correlate advanced oxidation protein products (AOPPs) and the total antioxidant capacity (TAC) with melatonin levels in the seminal plasma of men with azoospermia, theratozoospermia and fertile controls. Decreased levels of melatonin and AOPP altered the oxidative–antioxidative balance in the ejaculate, thereby reducing fertility. These parameters may serve as additional markers of semen quality and male reproductive potential.

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Published online 11 September 2014
Discovery of human posterior head 20 (hPH20) and homo sapiens sperm acrosome associated 1 (hSPACA1) immunocontraceptive epitopes and their effects on fertility in male and female mice 
Xuemei Chen, Xiaodong Liu, Xiuhua Ren, Xuewu Li, Li Wang and Weidong Zang

Low antibody titres and the irreversible suppression of spermatogenesis are current hurdles in the contraceptive vaccine field. The purpose of immunocontraception research is to obtain prominent and reversible contraceptive effect through vaccines administered to both males and females. These peptides could be used in the specific diagnosis and treatment of male and female infertility as well as contraceptive vaccine development.

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    | Supplementary Material (277 KB)
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Published online 11 September 2014
Why we should not select the faster embryo: lessons from mice and cattle 
Alfonso Gutierrez-Adan, Carlee R. White, Ann Van Soom and Mellissa R. W. Mann

Many studies have shown that in vitro culture can negatively impact preimplantation development, which necessitates some selection criteria to identify the best-suited embryos for transfer. With emerging data in bovine and mouse supporting increased developmental competency in embryos with moderate rates of development, it is time to question whether the fastest developing embryos are the best embryos for transfer in the human clinic. In this review we explore evidence surrounding the question of developmental timing as it relates to bovine embryo quality, mouse embryo quality and genomic imprint maintenance, and embryo sex.

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Published online 11 September 2014
The effects of permeating cryoprotectants on intracellular free-calcium concentrations and developmental potential of in vitro-matured feline oocytes 
Jason R. Herrick, Chunmin Wang and Zoltan Machaty

Changes in intracellular concentrations of Ca2+, hardening of the zona pellucida, parthenogenetic activation and embryonic development following IVF were evaluated in feline oocytes after exposure to three common cryoprotectants.  A combination of DMSO and propanediol had minimal effects on the viability of feline oocytes and may be useful for the development of more efficient protocols for vitrification of feline oocytes.

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Published online 11 September 2014
Effects of whole-body heat on male germ cell development and sperm motility in the laboratory mouse 
H. Wechalekar, B. P. Setchell, K. R. Pilkington, C. Leigh, W. G. Breed and E. Peirce

Putative effects of whole-body heat exposure include changes in testicular cells and spermatozoa. This study compared laboratory mice exposed to whole-body heat to control mice. The results show reduced testis weights and damage to developing and formed spermatozoa. These changes can cause male infertility. The results from this study could be extrapolated to humans exposed to high temperatures in their occupations.

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Published online 09 September 2014
Epigenetic processes in the male germline 
Alan M. O'Doherty and Paul A. McGettigan

Epigenetic modification of the mammalian genome is indispensable for successful development.  Many of these modifications, such as DNA methylation, are established and removed during gametogenesis, following fertilisation and during the early stages of embryogenesis.  These epigenetic modifications occur at different times during meiosis, depending on whether they occur during spermatogenesis or oogenesis.  Similarly, post-fertilisation modification dynamics occur differently depending on the parental origin of the genomic material.  This review will focus on these processes in the male germline.

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Published online 05 September 2014
Role of Wnt signalling in early pregnancy 
Sarmah B. Nayeem, Frank Arfuso, Arun Dharmarajan and Jeffrey A. Keelan

The Wnt family of secreted ligands plays a major role in regulating a wide range of biological processes, including reproduction. This review summarises our present knowledge of the expression, regulation and function of Wnt signalling pathways in early pregnancy and placentation. Knowledge in this area has applications in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of infertility and gestational diseases.

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Published online 02 September 2014
Prolactin modulates luteal regression from the coeliac ganglion via the superior ovarian nerve in the late-pregnant rat 
Sandra S. Vallcaneras, Magalí de la Vega, Silvia M. Delgado, Alicia Motta, Carlos Telleria, Ana M. Rastrilla and Marilina Casais

This work provides evidence of the functional interaction between the endocrine and peripheral neural systems. The aim was to study the effects of prolactin added to the coeliac ganglion, via the superior ovarian nerve, on ovarian physiology at the end of rat pregnancy. Prolactin acts at the coeliac ganglion and sends information to the ovary by a neural pathway, modifying parameters of functional and structural luteal regression.

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Published online 28 August 2014
Stress preconditioning of semen before cryopreservation improves fertility and increases the number of offspring born: a prospective randomised study using a porcine model 
A. Horváth, O. Szenci, K. Nagy, L. Végh and Cs. Pribenszky

Standard cryopreservation protocols and modified AI techniques are required to achieve acceptable fertility results with frozen–thawed boar semen. Using simplified procedures, but applying a sublethal hydrostatic pressure to the semen at room temperature before cryopreservation, yielded higher motility and fertility results. The AI dosage still needs to be optimised and, because no direct correlation was found between motility and fertility on an individual basis, the motility results cannot be used to predict potential fertility.

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Published online 28 August 2014
Seminal plasma affects sperm sex sorting in boars 
Diego V. Alkmin, Inmaculada Parrilla, Tatiana Tarantini, David del Olmo, Juan M. Vazquez, Emilio A. Martinez and Jordi Roca

Sex-sorted spermatozoa can play a crucial role in enhancing genetic improvement and production efficiency in swine industry. The presence of a high proportion of seminal plasma in semen samples negatively influences sperm sex-sorting efficiency. Removing the seminal plasma before sorting can reverse the consistent poor sperm sortability exhibited by the ejaculates of some boars.

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Published online 28 August 2014
Human extravillous trophoblast invasion: intrinsic and extrinsic regulation 
E. Menkhorst, A. Winship, M. Van Sinderen and E. Dimitriadis

Invasion of specialised fetal cells, the extravillous trophoblast, into the uterine decidua is critical for the establishment of pregnancy. Overall, there exists an exquisite balance between trophoblast over- and under-invasion. This review summarises what is known about the intrinsic invasive potential of the extravillous trophoblast and the role of maternal cells in regulating invasion. A greater understanding of the mechanisms will lead to therapeutics to treat at-risk pregnancies.

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Published online 26 August 2014
Signalling pathways involved in the synergistic effects of human growth differentiation factor 9 and bone morphogenetic protein 15 
Karen L. Reader, David G. Mottershead, Georgia A. Martin, Robert B. Gilchrist, Derek A. Heath, Kenneth P. McNatty and Jennifer L. Juengel

The oocyte-derived growth factors, bone morphogenetic protein 15 (BMP15) and growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9), play important roles in fertility, but their mechanism of action differs between species. Our aim was to determine the signalling pathways used by human BMP15 and GDF9; we found that they act synergistically and the combinations of pathways used are different from those observed in other species. Understanding the mechanisms of function of these human growth factors may help tailor treatments to improve fertility.

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Published online 25 August 2014
Interleukin 11: similar or opposite roles in female reproduction and reproductive cancer? 
Amy Winship, Ellen Menkhorst, Michelle Van Sinderen and Evdokia Dimitriadis

A signalling protein important in pregnancy can also promote uterine tumour growth in women. High levels of interleukin (IL)-11 protein are found in the placenta of pregnant women who have developed the potentially life-threatening condition of pre-eclampsia. The same protein is also highly expressed in tumours that develop in the endometrium, the inner lining of the uterus. IL-11 may be a new potential therapeutic target for cancer and the pregnancy complication pre-eclampsia.

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Published online 22 August 2014
Oxygen modulates human embryonic stem cell metabolism in the absence of changes in self-renewal 
Alexandra J. Harvey, Joy Rathjen, Lijia Jackie Yu and David K. Gardner

In this study we characterise the ability of environmental oxygen to regulate human embryonic stem cells (hESC). We show that the oxygen concentration influences metabolite use, metabolic gene expression, cell death and free radical production in hESC, without affecting the expression of characteristic hESC markers. Our findings suggest that hESC benefit from culture in a reduced oxygen environment that mimics the physiological paradigm.

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Published online 22 August 2014
Role of linker histone H1c during the reprogramming of Chinese swamp buffalo (Bubalus Bubalis) embryos produced by somatic cell nuclear transfer 
Gao-Bo Huang, Li Quan, Yong-Lian Zeng, Jian Yang, Ke-Huan Lu and Sheng-Sheng Lu

The movement of numerous proteins between the cytoplasm and nucleus is essential to remodelling. In this study, the exchange of histone between the cytoplasm of the oocyte (H1foo) and the transferred nucleus (H1c) is shown to be essential to somatic cell nuclear transfer in buffalo.

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    | Supplementary Material (237 KB)
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Published online 20 August 2014
Variation in seminal plasma alters the ability of ram spermatozoa to survive cryopreservation 
J. P. Rickard, R. E. Schmidt, J. W. Maddison, R. Bathgate, G. W. Lynch, X. Druart and S. P. de Graaf

The effect of seminal plasma on sperm function is yet to be fully explained. This study demonstrates that survival of spermatozoa during cryopreservation is modified by the source of seminal plasma (high or low freezing resilient male) to which they are exposed prior to freezing. These results demonstrate that seminal plasma varies in composition and is the first step in identifying its positive and negative components.

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    | Supplementary Material (24 KB)
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Published online 13 August 2014
Analysis of STAT1 expression and biological activity reveals interferon-tau-dependent STAT1-regulated SOCS genes in the bovine endometrium 
A. Vitorino Carvalho, C. Eozenou, G. D. Healey, N. Forde, P. Reinaud, M. Chebrout, L. Gall, N. Rodde, A. Lesage Padilla, C. Giraud Delville, M. Leveugle, C. Richard, I. M. Sheldon, P. Lonergan, G. Jolivet and O. Sandra

Implantation is a critical step of mammalian pregnancy whose progression depends on the quality of embryo and female genital tract. Using cattle as an animal model, gene expression, regulation and cell localization of STAT1 transcription factor were investigated in the endometrium during the oestrous cycle and early pregnancy; direct STAT1 target genes were identified by chromatin immunoprecipitation run with primary cultures of bovine endometrial cells. Altogether our data provide new insights on STAT1 biological functions in the endometrium during pregnancy maternal recognition and implantation.

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    | Supplementary Material (325 KB)
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Published online 13 August 2014
Low physiological levels of prostaglandins E2 and F improve human sperm functions 
Mariana Rios, Daniela V. Carreño, Carolina Oses, Nelson Barrera, Bredford Kerr and Manuel Villalón

The recent discovery that prostaglandins are present in the fluid of the female genital tract and increase the motility of human sperm in vitro could lead to a possible treatment to improve male infertility. The findings of this study that incubation of human spermatozoa with low physiological levels of PGE2 or PGF increases sperm functions could improve conditions for assisted reproduction protocols and help infertile couples seeking medical help, which, according to global estimates, could be as many as 50–80 million people.

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Published online 13 August 2014
The requirement for protein kinase C delta (PRKCD) during preimplantation bovine embryo development 
Qi-En Yang, Manabu Ozawa, Kun Zhang, Sally E. Johnson and Alan D. Ealy

Embryonic loss is one of the major contributors to infertility in humans and domestic animals. This work determined that protein kinase C delta, an intracellular signalling molecule, is involved in several important developmental processes during early embryonic development in cattle. These outcomes implicate this molecule as a principal player in establishing the developmental potential of bovine embryos.

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    | Supplementary Material (520 KB)
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Published online 11 August 2014
A new technique for analysis of human sperm morphology in unstained cells from raw semen 
Carles Soler, Almudena García-Molina, María Sancho, Jesús Contell, Manuel Núñez and Trevor G. Cooper

We describe the first technique that makes it possible to analyse the real size and shape of sperm cells. The development and application of this technique must lead to a new classification of human sperm morphology. This new approach will provide a revolutionary tool in the definition of human male fertility.

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Published online 11 August 2014
Yolk size and ovulation order determine fertility within double-yolked duck (Anas platyrhynchos domesticus) eggs 
Attila Salamon and John P. Kent

In double-yolked duck eggs, the first yolk ovulated achieved a higher level of fertilisation (68.82%) than the second yolk (34.98%), demonstrating a primacy effect. Eggs with larger yolks achieved a higher level of fertilisation, demonstrating an optimal yolk size effect. Both primacy and optimal size have a positive effect on the successful fertilisation of eggs in species with internal fertilisation.

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Published online 01 August 2014
Effects of maternal undernutrition during late gestation and/or lactation on colostrum synthesis and immunological parameters in the offspring 
S. Chadio, A. Katsafadou, B. Kotsampasi, G. Michailidis, K. C. Mountzouris, D. Kalogiannis and V. Christodoulou

Colostrum, apart from its crucial role for neonate survival, serves as a conduit for the transmission of signalling molecules from the mother to offspring. Maternal nutrition during late gestation affects colostrum composition and immune factor content, which through immunomodulatory properties, alters immune system function in the offspring. Events during fetal or neonatal life may have programming effects on immune function in later life.

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Published online 28 July 2014
Expression of group III metabotropic glutamate receptors in the reproductive system of male mice 
Marcin Marciniak, Barbara Chruscicka, Tomasz Lech, Grzegorz Burnat and Andrzej Pilc

Although glutamate signalling is traditionally investigated in the context of the central nervous system, it could also play a role in non-neuronal tissues. Herein, we investigated the expression of group III metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors in the reproductive system of male mice. Based on findings for the mGlu7 receptor, we postulate that constitutively expressed mGlu receptors in the male reproductive system may influence male fertility.

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Published online 24 July 2014
Dietary propylene glycol and in vitro embryo production after ovum pick-up in heifers with different anti-Müllerian hormone profiles 
G. Gamarra, C. Ponsart, S. Lacaze, B. Le Guienne, P. Humblot, M.-C. Deloche, D. Monniaux and A. A. Ponter

Ovum pick-up and in vitro embryo production is a technique that can be used in high genetic merit dairy heifers to produce large numbers of high quality embryos. Serum anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) was positively correlated with the numbers and quality of in vitro produced embryos after superovulation. A simple dietary supplement, propylene glycol, which increased circulating insulin, glucose and IGF1, was able to further increase oocyte quality and embryo production in animals with high AMH levels.

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Published online 24 July 2014
Variations in epithelial Na+ transport and epithelial sodium channel localisation in the vaginal cul-de-sac of the brushtail possum, Trichosurus vulpecula, during the oestrous cycle 
T.-A. Alsop, B. J. McLeod and A. G. Butt

The vaginal cul-de-sac, which is unique to the reproductive tract of marsupials, is thought to play an important role in reproduction, as the volume of fluid in the cul-de-sac increases up to ovulation and diminishes thereafter. Generally, changes in fluid volume in the reproductive tract are a result of changes in the transport properties of the epithelial lining. Our findings describe an epithelial transport mechanism responsible for absorption of fluid from the cul-de-sac following ovulation.

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Published online 22 July 2014
N-Glycans in Xenopus laevis testis characterised by lectin histochemistry 
Galder Valbuena, Juan Francisco Madrid, María Martínez de Ubago, Laura Gómez-Santos, Edurne Alonso, Lucio Díaz-Flores and Francisco J. Sáez

N-glycans (oligosaccharide chains linked to proteins by the amino group of an asparagine) essentials for mammalian spermatogenesis have been identified. Here, for the first time the presence of N-glycans in the testis of the amphibian Xenopus laevis has been analysed by lectin histochemistry. The functional role of these glycans could be related to the role of N-glycans involved in mammalian spermatogenesis.

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Published online 18 July 2014
Effect of combined exogenous progesterone with luteotrophic support via equine chorionic gonadotrophin (eCG) on corpus luteum development, circulating progesterone concentrations and embryo development in cattle 
L. O'Hara, N. Forde, P. Duffy, F. Randi, A. K. Kelly, A. Valenza, P. Rodriguez and P. Lonergan

Low circulating progesterone in the week following ovulation has been implicated in poor fertility in cattle. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of exogenous progesterone in combination with a luteotrophic agent on corpus luteum survival and conceptus development in cross-bred beef heifers. Results may provide the basis for a strategy to elevate progesterone and improve fertility.

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Published online 18 July 2014
Superovulation alters embryonic poly(A)-binding protein (Epab) and poly(A)-binding protein, cytoplasmic 1 (Pabpc1) gene expression in mouse oocytes and early embryos 
Saffet Ozturk, Aylin Yaba-Ucar, Berna Sozen, Derya Mutlu and Necdet Demir

Superovulation adversely influences oocyte maturation and early embryo development, but how superovulation results in these disturbances has not been clearly addressed yet. In this study, we aimed to determine the effect of superovulation on expression of embryonic poly(A)-binding protein (Epab) and poly(A)-binding protein, cytoplasmic 1 (Pabpc1) genes. We found that superovulation significantly alters Epab and Pabpc1 gene expression in mouse oocytes and early embryos.

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Published online 18 July 2014
In vitro interaction between resistin and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ in porcine ovarian follicles 
Agnieszka Rak-Mardy?a and Eliza Drwal

Resistin is a small cysteine-rich protein, produced by adipose tissue and involved in insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and reproduction. The findings of this study suggest that there is local cooperation exists resistin and PPARγ expression in the porcine ovary; resistin significantly increases PPARγ expression, whereas PPARγ decreases resistin expression. PPARγ is a new key regulator of resistin expression and function.

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Published online 18 July 2014
Expression patterns of mitochondrial OXPHOS components, mitofusin 1 and dynamin-related protein 1 are associated with human embryo fragmentation 
Vesna Otasevic, Lela Surlan, Milica Vucetic, Ivan Tulic, Biljana Buzadzic, Ana Stancic, Aleksandra Jankovic, Ksenija Velickovic, Igor Golic, Milica Markelic, Aleksandra Korac and Bato Korac

Improving the quality of preimplantation embryos is imperative in human in vitro fertilisation since the birth of the first baby in 1978, and high fragmentation is one of the limiting factors. This study links the phenomenon of human embryo fragmentation with energy homeostasis, mitochondrial dynamics and oxidative phosphorylation, suggesting altered transcriptional profiles of mitochondria-encoded components. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying these processes may help improve the energy capacity of the early embryo.

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Published online 17 July 2014
Mitochondrial activity during pre-maturational culture in in vitro-grown bovine oocytes is related to maturational and developmental competences 
Weiping Huang, Sung-Sik Kang, Katsuhisa Nagai, Yojiro Yanagawa, Yoshiyuki Takahashi and Masashi Nagano

Clarifying the mechanism for acquisition of developmental competence in bovine oocytes is important for improving the in vitro production system. Relationships between developmental competence and mitochondrial activity of in vitro-grown oocytes during meiotic arrest immediately before IVM culture were investigated. Mitochondrial activity at 10 h after starting meiotic arrest was highest and those oocytes showed comparable developmental competence with in vivo-grown oocytes.

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Published online 16 July 2014
Efficient generation of sFat-1 transgenic rabbits rich in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids by intracytoplasmic sperm injection 
Shun Zhang, Fenghua Lu, Qingyou Liu, Yubing Liu, Xiaomei Guan, Yingming Wei, Shijian Tan and Deshun Shi

N-3 PUFAs are beneficial to human health, and increasing the amount of n-3 PUFAs in mammals by introducing sFat-1 gene will improve the animal meat quality. This study was undertaken to produce sFat-1 transgenic rabbit by ICSI, and found that sFat-1 transgenic rabbits exhibited an ~10-fold increase in n-3 PUFAs in muscles. It will be possible to produce a new transgenic rabbit breed with high n-3 PUFAs.

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Published online 15 July 2014
Low-density lipoprotein receptor affects the fertility of female mice 
Tao Guo, Liang Zhang, Dong Cheng, Tao Liu, Liguo An, Wei-Ping Li and Cong Zhang

Low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) is responsible for the uptake of cholesterol-carrying lipoprotein particles into cells. The Ldlr deficient mice developed severe dyslipidemia and had significantly decreased female fertility. This study provides additional evidence for the role of Ldlr in regulation of lipid metabolism as well as female reproductive health during postnatal life.

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Published online 15 July 2014
Low level of basal testosterone: a significant risk factor for poor oocyte yield after ovulation induction 
Jing Guo, Qingxue Zhang, Yu Li, Wenjun Wang and Dongzi Yang

This study supplies a new predictor for poor ovarian response (POR) in the in vitro fertilisation field. We investigated the association of low basal androgen levels and IVF outcomes in a large Chinese population, and found low basal testosterone (<0.88 nmol L–1) was an independent risk factor for POR. This finding may help to identify young patients at high risk of POR.

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Published online 15 July 2014
Oocytes recovered after ovarian tissue slow freezing have impaired H2AX phosphorylation and functional competence 
Sam Sudhakaran, Shubhashree Uppangala, Sujith Raj Salian, Sachin D. Honguntikar, Ramya Nair, Guruprasad Kalthur and Satish Kumar Adiga

Ovarian tissue cryopreservation by slow freezing and vitrification are techniques available to cancer-affected women to preserve their fertility before cancer therapy. Comparison of these two techniques in mouse ovarian tissue has demonstrated the adverse effects of ovarian tissue slow freezing but not vitrification on oocyte DNA quality and functional ability. Hence, vitrification may be preferred over slow freezing for ovarian tissue cryopreservation.

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Published online 11 July 2014
Analysis and characterisation of bovine oocyte and embryo biomarkers by matrix-assisted desorption ionisation mass spectrometry imaging 
Roseli F. Gonçalves, Mónica S. Ferreira, Diogo N. de Oliveira, Rafael Canevarolo, Marcos A. Achilles, Daniela L. D'Ercole, Peter E. Bols, Jose A. Visintin, Gary J. Killian and Rodrigo R. Catharino

Lipid pathways play important biological roles in mammalian embryology. We document a new strategy to analyse bovine oocytes and embryos, and provide a chemical image using MALDI-MSI technology. Results obtained in this work demonstrates that a combination of MF, MSI features and chemometric analysis can be applied to discriminate cell stages, characterising specific biomarkers and relating them to developmental pathways.

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    | Supplementary Material (126 KB)
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Published online 09 July 2014
Differential gene-expression profiles from canine cumulus cells of ovulated versus in vitro-matured oocytes 
Su-Jin Cho, Kyeong-Lim Lee, Yu-Gon Kim, Dong-Hoon Kim, Jae-Gyu Yoo, Byoung-Chul Yang, Jin-Ki Park and Il-Keun Kong

Canine oocytes are ovulated at the GV/GVBD stage and rely on CCs to mature to MII stage. Consequently, the role of CCs is very likely to be more important than in other species. The objective was to identify the relationship between oocytes and cumulus cells during oocyte maturation. The results demonstrated that cumulus cells play key roles in supporting oocyte maturation to the MII stage.

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    | Supplementary Material (41 KB)
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Published online 08 July 2014
Semen collection, ejaculate characteristics and in vitro manipulation of spermatozoa from six species of captive flying-fox (Pteropus spp.) 
D. F. Melville, E. G. Crichton and S. D. Johnston

Almost two thirds of the 65 documented Pteropus species (large bats called flying-foxes) are considered threatened with extinction. Our research aimed to provide foundational information from which to develop a method of semen collection, extension and preservation for use in male fertility assessments and artificial insemination. The successful collection of >400 semen samples from six Pteropus species, four which had never been characterised before, adds to the general knowledge of male reproductive biology in these species and advances the likelihood that artificial reproductive technologies may one day be used to assist conservation efforts.

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Published online 26 June 2014
Impacts of and interactions between environmental stress and epigenetic programming during early embryo development 
Michael J. Bertoldo, Yann Locatelli, Christopher O'Neill and Pascal Mermillod

Embryos experience stress when they are grown in the laboratory, and this is believed to be detrimental to the embryo later in life. This article reviews the effects of in vitro conditions on the embryo and the mechanisms involved. By having a greater understanding of the mechanisms, we can potentially prevent stress during embryo growth in vitro.

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Published online 26 June 2014
Effects of varying doses of Β-nerve growth factor on the timing of ovulation, plasma progesterone concentration and corpus luteum size in female alpacas (Vicugna pacos) 
C. C. Stuart, J. L. Vaughan, C. M. Kershaw-Young, J. Wilkinson, R. Bathgate and S. P. de Graaf

Alpaca seminal plasma contains the protein β-nerve growth factor (β-NGF), which induces ovulation in females. We examined the effects of three doses of β-NGF and a gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist on ovulation rate and interval, corpus luteum diameter and plasma progesterone when administered to female alpacas and found that only ovulation rate varied. This suggests that there is no advantage to using β-NGF over more readily available and cheaper GnRH agonists to induce ovulation in alpacas.

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Published online 26 June 2014
Antibiotics and oxygen availability affect the short-term storage of spermatozoa from the critically endangered booroolong frog, Litoria booroolongensis 
Aimee J. Silla, Leesa M. Keogh and Phillip G. Byrne

Sperm storage technologies aim to extend sperm longevity and increase the time available to achieve artificial fertilisation. Overall, results from this study on the booroolong frog indicate that increased oxygen availability is beneficial to sperm longevity, but that antibiotics are detrimental. The optimal storage protocols identified will allow spermatozoa from spatially separated breeding stock to be transferred among captive facilities, a tool that will assist the genetic management of this critically endangered species.

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Published online 23 June 2014
Suboptimal maternal nutrition during early-to-mid gestation in the sheep enhances pericardial adiposity in the near-term fetus 
Shalini Ojha, Michael E. Symonds and Helen Budge

Changes in maternal diet during pregnancy can have long-lasting influences on the offspring’s health. In sheep, suboptimal nutrition during early-to-mid gestation results in enhanced fat deposition around the fetal heart. This is accompanied by increased abundance of genes that promote adipocyte synthesis. These adaptations may promote survival at birth but contribute to obesity in later life.

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Published online 19 June 2014
Effect of superstimulation protocols on nuclear maturation and distribution of lipid droplets in bovine oocytes 
D. Dadarwal, M. Honparkhe, F. C. F. Dias, T. Alce, C. Lessard and J. Singh

Lipids are the main energy source for oocytes. Based on 3D-microscopic evaluation, a mature bovine oocyte contained 22 picolitres of lipids distributed as 3000 droplets occupying 3.3% of the cell volume. Extending the FSH treatment from 4 to 7 days yielded a higher proportion of mature oocytes with no effect on lipids. FSH starvation for 84 h resulted in failure of meiotic resumption and accumulation of large lipid droplets, indicating degenerative changes.

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Published online 19 June 2014
Free-radical production after post-thaw incubation of ram spermatozoa is related to decreased in vivo fertility 
Enrique Del Olmo, Alfonso Bisbal, Olga García-Álvarez, Alejandro Maroto-Morales, Manuel Ramón, Pilar Jiménez-Rabadán, Luis Anel-López, Ana J. Soler, J. Julián Garde and María R. Fernández-Santos

This paper shows a direct relation between fertility and ROS production in sperm samples. The Fluorescein (CM-H2DCFDA) test combined with the SOF incubation could be considered a standard method for improving sperm-quality assessment. Ultimately, this technique could be a possible solution to the problem of fertility prediction in the laboratory.

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    | Supplementary Material (70 KB)
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Published online 16 June 2014
Insulin regulates primordial-follicle assembly in vitro by affecting germ-cell apoptosis and elevating oestrogen 
Xin-Lei Feng, Yuan-Chao Sun, Min Zhang, Shun-Feng Cheng, Yan-Ni Feng, Jing-Cai Liu, Hong-Hui Wang, Lan Li, Guo-Qing Qin and Wei Shen

Insulin plays an important role in the regulation of ovarian function; however, the specific molecular mechanism of its function remains largely unknown. This study found that insulin promoted folliculogenesis by facilitating germ-cell apoptosis within the cysts and upregulating oestrogen levels. This work established an effective model to study the function of insulin in folliculogenesis.

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    | Supplementary Material (285 KB)
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Published online 12 June 2014
Transgenerational inheritance of ovarian development deficiency induced by maternal diethylhexyl phthalate exposure 
Xi-Feng Zhang, Teng Zhang, Zhe Han, Jing-Cai Liu, Yu-Ping Liu, Jun-Yu Ma, Lan Li and Wei Shen

Diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) disrupts the physiological functions of endogenous hormones and induces abnormal development of mammals. However, the effects of DEHP exposure on folliculogenesis remain largely unknown. DEHP exposure significantly delayed the first meiotic progression of female fetal germ cells and accelerated follicle recruitment. DEHP exposure induced ovarian development deficiency, which was transgenerational in mice.

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    | Supplementary Material (581 KB)
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Published online 03 June 2014
Validation of the sperm chromatin dispersion (SCD) test in the Amphibian Xenopus laevis using in situ nick translation and comet assay 
K. Pollock, J. Gosálvez, F. Arroyo, C. López-Fernández, M. Guille, A. Noble and S. D. Johnston

The integrity of sperm DNA is recognised as an important parameter of semen quality, but there are no published reports of this procedure for any amphibian. Validated as the first amphibian protocol for the assessment of sperm DNA fragmentation, the sperm chromatin dispersion test revealed three nuclear morphotypes representing varying degrees of DNA damage. This protocol has the potential to benefit assisted breeding programs using assisted reproductive technologies to support amphibian conservation efforts.

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Published online 29 May 2014
Open pulled straw vitrification and slow freezing of sheep IVF embryos using different cryoprotectants 
M. H. Bhat, V. Sharma, F. A. Khan, N. A. Naykoo, S. H. Yaqoob, G. Vajta, H. M. Khan, M. R. Fazili, N. A. Ganai and R. A. Shah

Embryo cryopreservation has huge potential to ensure the storage and worldwide distribution of elite germplasm. The aim of this study was to establish a standard procedure using specific cryoprotectant concentrations to avoid loss during cryopreservation procedures. Vitrification using 40% ethylene glycol resulted in superior embryo survival in sheep embryos from abattoir-derived oocytes. These results provide an easier option for embryo cryopreservation without compromising embryo survival.

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Published online 22 May 2014
Protein deubiquitination during oocyte maturation influences sperm function during fertilisation, antipolyspermy defense and embryo development 
Young-Joo Yi, Miriam Sutovsky, Won-Hee Song and Peter Sutovsky

Tagging with multi-ubiquitin chains targets substrate proteins for recycling by the 26S proteasome, during which deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) remove multi-ubiquitin chains from the substrate to regenerate mono-ubiquitin. In this study, DUB inhibitors impaired porcine oocyte maturation, fertilisation and pre-embryo development by altering the turnover of oocyte proteins such as major vault protein. Thus, DUBs may promote the acquisition of oocyte developmental competence.

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    | Supplementary Material (352 KB)
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Published online 28 April 2014
Distribution of cortical granules and meiotic maturation of canine oocytes in bi-phasic systems 
Maricy Apparicio, Giuliano Q. Mostachio, Tathiana F. Motheo, Aracelle E. Alves, Luciana Padilha, Eliandra A. Pires-Butler, Paula A. P. Savi, Ricardo A. R. Uscategui, Gaia C. Luvoni and Wilter R. R. Vicente

Studies about canine reproduction have increased over the years once this species can be used as a model for their endangered counterparts. This work aimed to reproduce in laboratory a similar hormonal condition in order to improve the results that are still far from satisfactory. Our results reveal that mimicking the hormonal changes is beneficial for oocyte maturation and so it is a more reliable approach to overcome the challenges of in vitro techniques.

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Published online 23 April 2014
Src family kinases are involved in the meiotic maturation of porcine oocytes 
Kateřina Kheilová, Jaroslav Petr, Tereza Žalmanová, Veronika Kučerová-Chrpová and Dalibor Řehák

Src family kinases are involved in the meiotic maturation of mammalian oocytes, but the information about their role in regulation of meiotic maturation has been mainly obtained from mouse oocytes. The present study proved that the Src family kinases play an active role in the meiotic maturation of porcine oocytes at least partly through MPF and MAPK activity regulation. Considering that data from mouse oocytes need not be validated in other species, our findings contribute to the understanding of the regulation of oocyte maturation.

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Published online 17 April 2014
Addition of l-ascorbic acid to culture and vitrification media of IVF porcine blastocysts improves survival and reduces HSPA1A levels of vitrified embryos 
Miriam Castillo-Martín, Marc Yeste, Albert Soler, Roser Morató and Sergi Bonet

The presence of non-enzymatic antioxidants in the environment surrounding the embryo reduces oxidative stress. Thus, the present study sought to determine how the addition of l-ascorbic acid during culture and vitrification and warming affects quality and gene expression of in vitro produced porcine blastocysts. Results obtained indicate that l-ascorbic acid supplementation increases embryo survival following cryopreservation via decreasing HSPA1A levels.

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Published online 10 April 2014
Substitution of starch for palm oil during gestation: impact on offspring survival and hepatic gene expression in the pig 
K. L. Almond, H. P. Fainberg, M. A. Lomax, P. Bikker, M. E. Symonds and A. Mostyn

Various dietary strategies to reduce piglet mortality have been tested, with increased fat in the maternal diet thought to improve energy partitioning to the fetus, subsequently improving neonatal outcome. However, we found that a maternal diet containing palm oil in place of starch led to reduced maternal glucose tolerance, increased neonatal mortality and altered gene expression in the liver at 1 week of age. Despite this, offspring from mothers fed the fat-substituted diet displayed no changes in postnatal growth or hepatic gene expression at 6 months of age.

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Published online 10 April 2014
In utero exposure to the oestrogen mimic diethylstilbestrol disrupts gonadal development in a viviparous reptile 
Laura M. Parsley, Erik Wapstra and Susan M. Jones

Studies of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in egg-laying reptiles have significantly advanced knowledge in this field; however, 30 % of reptiles are live-bearing. We examined the effects of feminising EDCs by exposing female Niveoscincus metallicus to the synthetic oestrogen, diethylstilbestrol, and found that gonadal development of male and female neonates from exposed mothers was impaired at birth. Maternal exposure to feminising EDCs may have profound consequences on reproductive fitness.

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Published online 10 April 2014
Antioxidant treatment during manipulation procedures prevents mitochondrial and DNA damage and enhances nuclear reprogramming of bovine somatic cell nuclear transfer embryos 
Hyo-Kyung Bae, In-Sun Hwang, Ji-Ye Kim, Sung-Young Lee, Choon-Keun Park, Boo-Keun Yang and Hee-Tae Cheong

The efficiency of animal cloning by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is low because of incomplete nuclear reprogramming. We tried to prevent the mitochondrial and DNA damage caused by mechanical stress-associated reactive oxygen species during manipulation procedures of SCNT using antioxidants. Antioxidant treatment during manipulation procedures can efficiently prevent cellular damage and improve nuclear reprogramming.

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Published online 04 April 2014
Prenatal exposure to testosterone masculinises the female gerbil and promotes the development of lesions in the prostate (Skene’s gland) 
Manoel F. Biancardi, Ana P. S. Perez, Cássia Regina Suzuki Caires, Rejane M. Góes, Patrícia S. L. Vilamaior, Fernanda C. A. Santos and Sebastião R. Taboga

This research reports important improvements in prostate biology focusing on the mechanisms underlying the origins of diseases from the female prostate (Skene’s gland). Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the interferential effects of exogenous testosterone exposure during the prenatal and pubertal periods on the health of the female prostate. We observed that the exposure to androgenic disruptors may predispose the gland to develop lesions with aging.

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Published online 03 April 2014
Differential expression of Notch component and effector genes during ovarian follicle and corpus luteum development during the oestrous cycle 
D. Murta, M. Batista, E. Silva, A. Trindade, L. Mateus, A. Duarte and L. Lopes-da-Costa

Ovarian dynamics involve extensive cell-to-cell communication, requiring fine regulation of cell signalling. This led us to evaluate the expression patterns of Notch cell-signalling pathway component and effector genes during follicle and corpus luteum development. We found Notch signalling active, and Notch expression spatially and temporally associated with key events in follicle and corpus luteum development. This suggests a relevant regulatory role of Notch signalling in ovarian dynamics.

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Published online 03 April 2014
Effects of vitrification on the expression of pluripotency, apoptotic and stress genes in in vitro-produced porcine blastocysts 
Miriam Castillo-Martín, Marc Yeste, Eva Pericuesta, Roser Morató, Alfonso Gutiérrez-Adán and Sergi Bonet

The demand for the successful preservation of porcine embryos has increased in the past decade. In this study, we evaluated the effects of vitrification and warming, a widely used cryopreservation method, on the expression of six relevant genes in in vitro-produced porcine blastocysts. The results suggest that vitrification and warming affect embryo developmental ability and pluripotency by increasing the number of cells with fragmented DNA, peroxide levels and HSPA1A gene expression.

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Published online 02 April 2014
Seasonal variation in urinary and salivary reproductive hormone levels in Amazonian manatees (Trichechus inunguis) 
Rodrigo S. Amaral, Fernando C. W. Rosas, Vera M. F. da Silva, Laura H. Graham, Priscila Viau, Marcilio Nichi and Claudio A. Oliveira

The Amazonian manatee is a threatened aquatic mammal endemic to the Amazon basin and the species is a seasonal breeder. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of the season on the reproductive hormone levels of captive Amazonian manatees. Different from males, all female hormones levels showed seasonal variation. The results strongly suggest the existence of reproductive seasonality in Amazonian manatees, even in captive conditions; however, apparently only females exhibit reproductive quiescence during the non-breeding season.

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Published online 31 March 2014
Effect of pregnancy on endometrial expression of luteolytic pathway components in the mare 
M. de Ruijter-Villani, H. T. A. van Tol and T. A. E. Stout

Preventing pulsatile endometrial PGF release is critical to pregnancy recognition in mares, and downregulation of PTGS2 and OXTR underlies initial avoidance of luteolysis. By Day 21 of pregnancy, however, expression of both PTGS2 and OXTR recovers to levels consistent with luteolysis. Continued luteal maintenance may instead involve uncoupling of PGF generating feedback loops by inhibition of PGF receptor (PTGFR) expression.

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Published online 31 March 2014
Ram spermatozoa migrating through artificial mucus in vitro have reduced mitochondrial membrane potential but retain their viability 
Carmen Martínez-Rodríguez, Mercedes Alvarez, Elena López-Urueña, Susana Gomes-Alves, Luis Anel-López, Cesar A. Chamorro, Luis Anel and Paulino de Paz

The ram sperm population that migrates through a column of cervical mucus surrogates in a penetration test was evaluated. These spermatozoa exhibit an adequate motility to cross the mucus barrier and we think that these cells can give information about the transport through the female genital tract. The viability of migrating spermatozoa was not changed but the mitochondrial status was affected after migration.

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Published online 27 March 2014
Cloning and expression of progesterone receptor isoforms A and B in bovine corpus luteum 
Robert Rekawiecki, Magdalena Karolina Kowalik and Jan Kotwica

Nuclear progesterone receptor has two main isoforms, PGRA and PGRB, which have different functions. PGRB cDNA from cattle was cloned then mRNA and protein levels for both isoforms in corpora lutea during the oestrous cycle and first trimester of pregnancy were determined. The data suggest that the variable expression of these isoforms during the oestrous cycle may depend on the influence of progesterone.

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Published online 25 March 2014
Contribution of boars to reproductive performance and paternity after homospermic and heterospermic artificial insemination 
C. E. R. Ferreira, D. B. Sávio, A. C. Guarise, M. J. Flach, G. D. A. Gastal, A. O. Gonçalves, O. A. Dellagostin, R. V. Alonso, I. Bianchi, C. D. Corcini and T. Lucia

Although it is commonly used in swine farms, heterospermic AI does not allow precise evaluation of boar fertility. The reproductive performance and the paternity contribution of four boars (A, B, C and D) were compared in this study using homospermic and heterospermic AI in 511 sows. Differences among boars were only identified after genotyping the piglets sired through heterospermic AI.

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Published online 25 March 2014
Validation of computer-assisted sperm-motility analysis in the amphibian Silurana tropicalis 
Severine Larroze, Daniel B. Pickford and William V. Holt

Computer-assisted sperm-motility analysis has been scarcely studied or used on amphibians. In this research we validated a standardised method producing reproducible results and compared traditional data analysis with sperm-subpopulation frequencies. We demonstrated that sperm-subpopulation frequency analysis can detect treatment effects on sperm motility.

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Published online 20 March 2014
Mouse ovarian tissue vitrification on copper electron microscope grids versus slow freezing: a comparative ultrastructural study 
Ferda Topal-Celikkan, Sinan Ozkavukcu, Deniz Balci, Sibel Serin-Kilicoglu and Esra Atabenli-Erdemli

Ovarian cryopreservation for fertility preservation is a gold standard procedure in numerous cases, like childhood cancers, although it is still considered experimental. Vitrification is widely used in embryo and oocyte cryopreservation, but its effectiveness for ovarian freezing remains debatable. Slow freezing seems to preserve ovarian content better and therefore the vitrification of tissues needs to be improved by means of cryoprotective agents and carrying devices.

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Published online 17 March 2014
Follistatin is essential for normal postnatal development and function of mouse oviduct and uterus 
S. J. Holdsworth-Carson, R. G. Craythorn, W. R. Winnall, K. Dhaliwal, R. Genovese, C. J. Nowell, P. A. W. Rogers, D. M. de Kretser, M. P. Hedger and J. E. Girling

Follistatin is a protein with key roles in the female reproductive system. We used mutant mouse strains to demonstrate the importance of follistatin in the postnatal development and function of the uterus and oviduct. Our work highlights the need to further examine the role of follistatin in the reproductive tract, as well as its key role in the ovary.

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Published online 11 March 2014
Developmental programming of bone deficits in growth-restricted offspring 
Tania Romano, John D. Wark and Mary E. Wlodek

Offspring born with low birth weight are predisposed to a number of adult diseases, including osteoporosis. Herein, we report that such rat offspring develop reduced bone mineral content and strength at various ages. Importantly these deficits affected males more severely than females and became worse with aging. Interventions to improve bone quality in adult life for individuals born small may reduce the incidence of osteoporosis in the future.

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Published online 04 March 2014
Subpopulation pattern of eel spermatozoa is affected by post-activation time, hormonal treatment and the thermal regimen 
V. Gallego, M. C. Vílchez, D. S. Peñaranda, L. Pérez, M. P. Herráez, J. F. Asturiano and F. Martínez-Pastor

Eel culture requires closing of the life cycle in captivity. We have characterised sperm subpopulations in eel sperm by cluster analysis of CASA data. Keeping male eels at 20°C and using recombinant human chorionic gonadotropin (hCGrec) resulted in early and stable spermiation, with a higher proportion of a high quality subpopulation.

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    | Supplementary Material (512 KB)
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Published online 04 March 2014
Variation of spermatogenic and Sertoli cell number detected by fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) in Iberian red deer during and out of the breeding season 
Eliana Pintus, José Luis Ros-Santaella and José Julián Garde

Few studies have dealt with spermatogenesis in red deer, which represent a good model in which to investigate testicular function owing to their reproductive seasonality. Herein, we found that both spermatogenesis and Sertoli cell number decreased significantly out of the breeding season in Iberian red deer. Our results provide new insights into the dynamics of spermatogenesis and Sertoli cell populations, and challenge current dogma that Sertoli cell number is fixed in adulthood.

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Published online 28 February 2014
Sperm survival kinetics in different types of bull semen: progressive motility, plasma membrane integrity, acrosomal status and reactive oxygen species generation 
Mushtaq Ahmad, Nasim Ahmad, Amjad Riaz and Muhammad Anzar

Sperm survival is important for the fertilisation of oocytes. The kinetics of progressive sperm motility, acrosomes, plasma membrane and generation of reactive oxygen species were determined in vitro over 24 h. Bull sperm longevity was poor in frozen–thawed semen. Different types of spermatozoa followed different death pathways. All types of spermatozoa generated superoxide anions during incubation, which adversely affected their plasma membranes.

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Published online 24 February 2014
Selection of pre- versus postpubertal pig oocytes for parthenogenetic activation and somatic cell nuclear transfer 
H. S. Pedersen, Y. Liu, R. Li, S. Purup, P. Løvendahl, P. Holm, P. Hyttel and H. Callesen

Oocytes from sexually immature pigs are used for in vitro production techniques studying, for example, human diseases. The objective of the present study was met by developing a method for the selection of prepubertal oocytes with high developmental competence by measuring the oocyte’s diameter in combination with morphological evaluation. The study is important for understanding oocyte growth and development and for increasing the efficiency of in vitro work.

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Published online 24 February 2014
In vitro manipulation techniques of porcine embryos: a meta-analysis related to transfers, pregnancies and piglets 
Ying Liu, Juan Li, Peter Løvendahl, Mette Schmidt, Knud Larsen and Henrik Callesen

Over the last decade in vitro manipulation techniques of pig embryos have been used increasingly, but the overall tendencies and main problems are not well known. In this first systematic review we show that using more in vitro manipulations of porcine embryos decreases the overall production of piglets, and that nuclear transfer has developed markedly and now gives more stable results. This new knowledge illustrates the present status of in vitro techniques, and it will also be useful in the continuing attempts to identify problems and find solutions for nuclear transfer.

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Published online 21 February 2014
Effect of different freezing velocities on the quality and fertilising ability of cryopreserved rabbit spermatozoa 
E. Mocé, E. Blanch, A. Talaván and M. P. Viudes de Castro

The freezing step of the protocol for rabbit sperm cryopreservation negatively influences the performance of the spermatozoa. In this study we show the important role that the freezing rate plays in the quality and fertilising ability of the spermatozoa, with medium freezing rates (–40°C min–1) more suitable for freezing rabbit spermatozoa. These results could help to develop reliable protocols for rabbit sperm cryopreservation.

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Published online 19 February 2014
Elective single versus double embryo transfer: live birth outcome and patient acceptance in a prospective randomised trial 
Nicolás Prados, Rocío Quiroga, Cinzia Caligara, Myriam Ruiz, Víctor Blasco, Antonio Pellicer and Manuel Fernández-Sánchez

The aim of the study was to determine which strategy (i.e. single (eSET) versus double (eDET) embryo transfer) has a better trade-off in live birth delivery considering patient acceptance. The live birth delivery rate was significantly higher after eDET versus eSET (65% vs 42%, respectively), but no multiple births were observed after eSET compared with 35% after eDET. Nearly half the patients refused eSET even after having been well informed of its benefits.

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    | Supplementary Material (44 KB)
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Published online 19 February 2014
Oocyte expression, secretion and somatic cell interaction of mouse bone morphogenetic protein 15 during the peri-ovulatory period 
Brigitta Mester, Lesley J. Ritter, Janet L. Pitman, Adrian H. Bibby, Robert B. Gilchrist, Kenneth P. McNatty, Jennifer L. Juengel and C. Joy McIntosh

New work investigating how mammalian eggs achieve ovulation has found that the key fertility protein bone morphogenetic protein 15 (BMP15) is produced by the egg in more than one protein form just before ovulation. Whereas most previous studies focused on the mature region of BMP15, the present study shows that the proregion form is also increasingly produced just before ovulation and binds to surrounding cumulus and granulosa cells. This finding furthers our understanding of the complexity of BMP15 signalling and provides promising new routes of improving fertility treatments.

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Published online 14 February 2014
Knockdown of regulator of G-protein signalling 2 (Rgs2) leads to abnormal early mouse embryo development in vitro 
Yan Zhu, Ya-Hong Jiang, Ya-Ping He, Xuan Zhang, Zhao-Gui Sun, Man-Xi Jiang and Jian Wang

We hypothesised that Rgs2 may play a role in early embryo development. Therefore, we investigated the localisation of Rgs2 in mouse ovarian tissues and early embryos, and determined the effect of downregulating Rgs2 on the development of early embryos. Rgs2 was abundant in mouse early embryos, and the results of Rgs2 knockdown indicate that Rgs2 plays a critical role in early embryo development.

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Published online 12 February 2014
Polymorphisms in TOX and NCOA2 genes and their associations with reproductive traits in cattle 
Gregório M. F. de Camargo, Raphael B. Costa, Lucia G. de Albuquerque, Luciana C. A. Regitano, Fernando Baldi and Humberto Tonhati

The detection of causal mutation in genes improves genetic evaluation of animals. The aim of the present study was to search for causal mutations in the TOX and NCOA2 genes and relate them to reproductive traits in beef cattle. Two single nucleotide polymorphisms in the NCOA2 gene were associated (P < 0.05) with early pregnancy probability, age at first calving and days to first calving.

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Published online 11 February 2014
New insight into the castrated mouse epididymis based on comparative proteomics 
Xin Liu, Wenjuan Wang and FuJun Liu

The mammalian epididymis is responsible for sperm maturation and is critically regulated by testicular factors. Comparative proteomics was used to discover key testis-dependent proteins in epididymides from castrated mice. The results showed that the differentially expressed proteins participated primarily in energy metabolism and the antigen processing and presentation pathway. Our findings may provide potential new candidates for further studies into epididymal function and male aging.

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    | Supplementary Material (351 KB)
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Published online 30 January 2014
FSH and LH receptors are differentially expressed in cumulus cells surrounding developmentally competent and incompetent mouse fully grown antral oocytes 
Giulia Vigone, Valeria Merico, Carlo Alberto Redi, Giuliano Mazzini, Silvia Garagna and Maurizio Zuccotti

As experienced by many couples that undergo assisted reproduction, the oocyte quality is crucial for correct development. This study shows that Fsh and Lh receptors on the cumulus cells that surround the mouse oocyte are differentially expressed in developmentally competent or incompetent gametes. The method presented is a potential non-invasive procedure to discriminate between oocytes of good or bad quality.

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    | Supplementary Material (180 KB)
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Published online 30 January 2014
Shotgun proteomics of rainbow trout ovarian fluid 
Joanna Nynca, Georg J. Arnold, Thomas Fröhlich and Andrzej Ciereszko

Studies on the protein components of ovarian fluid (OF) may contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying oocyte development and quality. A shotgun proteomic approach was used to identify 54 proteins of in the OF of rainbow trout; most of the proteins are described for the first time in fish OF. The results of this study could help in the decoding of the biological function of these proteins and in the discovery of potential biomarkers of oocyte quality.

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    | Supplementary Material (18 KB)
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Published online 24 January 2014
Mitochondria and vesicles differ between adult and prepubertal sheep oocytes during IVM 
Karen L. Reader, Neil R. Cox, Jo-Ann L. Stanton and Jennifer L. Juengel

By identifying differences between good and poor quality oocytes (i.e. eggs), methods for improving oocyte quality may be ascertained. This research discovered differences in the distribution, number and structure of mitochondria and the volume of storage vesicles, between adult (good quality) and juvenile (poor quality) sheep oocytes. Treatments that can alter these cell organelles in the oocytes, either in the laboratory or the animal, may now be identified to improve oocyte quality.

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Published online 15 January 2014
Efficiency of delayed reproduction in Mus spicilegus 
Marie Lafaille, Patrick Gouat and Christophe Féron

To cope with varying ecological costs some species delay their first breeding, but delaying the first reproduction generally involves reproductive costs. We show here in a wild-type rodent (Mus spicilegus) that the delayed reproducers reproduce as well and more quickly than younger first-time breeders. The hypothesis of a lower reproductive potential in these relatively aged individuals seems to be contradicted.

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Published online 13 January 2014
Exogenous γ-tocotrienol promotes preimplantation development and improves the quality of porcine embryos 
Enok Lee, Sung-Hun Min, Bong-Seok Song, Ji-Yeong Yeon, Jin-Woo Kim, Jung-Ho Bae, Soo-Yong Park, Yong-Hee Lee, Sun-Uk Kim, Dong-Seok Lee, Kyu-Tae Chang and Deog-Bon Koo

Researchers have paid much attention to gamma-tocotrienol (GTT) due to its strong anti-oxidant properties. Therefore, the effects of GTT on blastocyst development, expression levels of reactive oxygen species and apoptotic index were investigated in preimplantation porcine embryos. We revealed that GTT improves the developmental competence and quality of porcine embryos by preventing oxidative stress.

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Published online 13 January 2014
Relationship between adiponectin and fertility in the female pig 
Danila B. Campos, Marcelo Albornoz, Paula C. Papa, Marie-France Palin, Vilceu Bordignon and Bruce D. Murphy

Adiponectin isoforms mediate different aspects of the pleiotropic function of the protein, including the reproductive process. We demonstrated that lower abundance of circulating adiponectin isoforms and altered ovarian adiponectin system expression are related to lower porcine fertility. These data present new elements contributing to a better understanding of the role of adiponectin in the reproduction and extends previous observations that reduced circulating adiponectin is associated with reproductive disorders, including PCOS. These findings open a new avenue for the application of commercial letrozole in monosex fish production.

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Published online 13 January 2014
Effect of dietary administration of letrozole and tamoxifen on gonadal development, sex differentiation and biochemical changes in common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.) 
Atul K. Singh, P. P. Srivastava, Rita Verma, Sharad C. Srivastava, Dinesh Kumar and Abubakar Ansari

Induced sex manipulation in fish is connected with better aquaculture production and sex control. Masculinisation in sexually undifferentiated common carp was attempted using non-steroidal tamoxifen and letrozole, which resulted in highly significant changes, particularly for letrozole, which produced almost all male C. capio. These findings open a new avenue for the application of commercial letrozole in monosex fish production.

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Published online 03 January 2014
Assessment of DNA damage in goat preantral follicles after vitrification of the ovarian cortex 
Luciana R. Faustino, Adeline A. Carvalho, Cleidson M. G. Silva, Rafael Rossetto, Cláudio A. P. Lopes, Maurício F. van Tilburg, Pedro B. M. Carneiro, Sônia N. Báo, Arlindo A. A. Moura, Vilceu Bordignon, José R. Figueiredo and Ana Paula R. Rodrigues

Effective methods for tissue cryopreservation should protect cell viability and genome integrity. This study used the TUNEL assay and detection of γH2AX foci to investigate DNA damage in goat ovarian tissues cryopreserved with a new vitrification method (the Ovarian Tissue Cryosystem). This vitrification method preserved both morphology and DNA integrity of goat preantral follicles and therefore represents a potential alternative for ovarian tissue preservation in other species.

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Published online 03 January 2014
T26248G-transversion mutation in exon7 of the putative methyltransferase Nsun7 gene causes a change in protein folding associated with reduced sperm motility in asthenospermic men 
Nahid Khosronezhad, Abasalt Hosseinzadeh Colagar and Syed Golam Ali Jorsarayi

The Nsun7 gene with location 4p14, encodes putative methyltransferase Nsun7, has a role in sperm motility. Analysis of the direct sequencing of PCR products of exon7 showed a T26248G-transversion mutation with protein folding and function exchange in asthenospermic men, which may lead to reduced sperm motility and infertility. Based on, it can be helpful as an infertility marker for males with a history of subfertility or idiopathic infertility in fertility assessment.

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blank image Reproduction, Fertility and Development
Volume 27 Number 2 2015

 
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Recovery of fertility from adult ovarian tissue transplanted into week-old Japanese quail chicks 
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Jianan Liu , Kimberly M. Cheng and Frederick G. Silversides
pp. 281-284

Fertility can be recovered from birds’ ovaries using transplantation. Fragments of ovaries from adult Japanese quail were transplanted into week-old quail recipients and chicks were produced from the donor tissue, demonstrating that adult birds can be used as ovarian donors for genetic conservation. Changes in egg production with the transplants also suggested that ovarian transplantation can be used to study reproduction in birds.

 
  
 

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Tolerance of spermatozoa to hypotonic stress: role of membrane fluidity and correlation with cryosurvival 
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Harriëtte Oldenhof , Anna Heutelbeck , Anne-Kathrin Blässe , Heinrich Bollwein , Gunilla Martinsson , Willem F. Wolkers and Harald Sieme
pp. 285-293

Sperm from different stallions exhibit great differences in cryosurvival rates, which likely can be attributed to differences in cellular properties, such as membrane stability towards osmotic stress. The aim of this study was to obtain insights in factors determining membrane stability as well as cryosurvival. Pre-freeze osmotic tolerance was evaluated for individual stallions, and it was found that this cannot be used as a parameter to predict sperm cryosurvival rates.

 
  
 

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Exposure to Brefeldin A promotes initiation of meiosis in murine female germ cells 
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Lian-Jun Zhang , Bo Chen , Xin-Lei Feng , Hua-Gang Ma , Li-lan Sun , Yan-Min Feng , Gui-Jin Liang , Shun-Feng Cheng , Lan Li and Wei Shen
pp. 294-303

Our research focused on the mechanism of meiosis initiation, a complex process that is still not clear. In this study, we cultured 11.5 days post coitum female mouse genital ridges in vitro with exposure to Brefeldin A and found that meiosis initiation was stimulated partly via a retinoic acid–Stra8 signal. Our results contributed to the study of meiosis initiation in vitro and also confirmed the role of Stra8 in meiosis initiation.

 
    | Supplementary Material (335 KB)
 

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Follicle size and reproductive hormone profiles during a post-weaning altrenogest treatment in primiparous sows 
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J. J. J. van Leeuwen , M. R. T. M. Martens , J. Jourquin , M. A. Driancourt , A. Wagner , B. Kemp and N. M. Soede
pp. 304-312

Post-weaning treatments with a progesterone analogue can be applied in sows to postpone oestrus after weaning, which may affect subsequent fertility. The present study investigated the underlying endocrinology of this phenomenon. Daily altrenogest treatment resulted in a wave of follicle growth for 5 days and a concomitant increase in FSH, but follicles lost oestrogenic competence by Day 2. The latter may be the cause of reduced fertility after short altrenogest treatments.

 
  
 

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Structure, histochemistry and seasonal variations of the male reproductive accessory glands in the Pallas’s mastiff bat, Molossus molossus (Chiroptera: Molossidae) 
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Caroline M. Christante , Mateus R. Beguelini , Cintia C. I. Puga , Ana C. Negrin , Eliana Morielle-Versute , Patrícia S. L. Vilamaior and Sebastião R. Taboga
pp. 313-322

The male reproductive accessory glands (RAGs) of bats vary widely according to the reproductive strategies of each species. Thus, this study aimed to characterise the RAGs of Molossus molossus (Molossidae) and evaluate their seasonal variations. Results demonstrated the existence of two regions (ventral and dorsal), which had inherent characteristics; however, both synchronised to establish the main reproductive peak in spring (early rainy season).

 
  
 

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The beneficial effects of reduced magnesium during the oocyte-to-embryo transition are conserved in mice, domestic cats and humans 
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Jason R. Herrick , Kevin J. Strauss , Ann Schneiderman , Mary Rawlins , John Stevens , William B. Schoolcraft and Rebecca L. Krisher
pp. 323-331

Reduced concentrations of Mg2+ during in vitro fertilisation or intracytoplasmic sperm injection improved cleavage or embryonic development in mice, domestic cats and humans. Although specific mechanisms may vary between species, sensitivity to increased concentrations of Mg2+ in the medium during the oocyte-to-embryo transition appears to be conserved in three different mammalian species.

 
  
 

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Colloid single-layer centrifugation improves post-thaw donkey (Equus asinus) sperm quality and is related to ejaculate freezability 
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I. Ortiz , J. Dorado , D. Acha , M. J. Gálvez , M. Urbano and M. Hidalgo
pp. 332-340

The Andalusian donkey is an endangered breed and sperm banks are needed; however, cryopreservation may result in low sperm quality. This study investigated the effect of colloid single-layer centrifugation (SLC) on frozen–thawed donkey semen. It concluded that SLC is a suitable procedure to improve cryopreserved donkey semen, in particular for low-freezability ejaculates. These results could be helpful in the conservation of endangered donkey breeds.

 
  
 

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Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids during gestation and lactation to a vitamin B12-deficient or -supplemented diet improves pregnancy outcome and metabolic variables in Wistar rats 
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Amrita Khaire , Richa Rathod , Nisha Kemse , Anvita Kale and Sadhana Joshi
pp. 341-350

Maternal vitamin B12 deficiency is known to lead to an adverse pregnancy outcome and increase the risk for developing diseases in mothers in later life. This study examines the effect of maternal n-3 PUFA supplementation to vitamin B12-deficient or -supplemented diets on pregnancy outcome, fatty-acid status and metabolic variables in Wistar rats. Results indicate that maternal vitamin B12 status is critical in determining pregnancy outcome and metabolic variables in dams and supplementation with n-3 PUFA is beneficial.

 
  
 

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Influence of sperm fertilising concentration, sperm selection method and sperm capacitation procedure on the incidence of numerical chromosomal abnormalities in IVF early bovine embryos 
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Sebastián Demyda-Peyrás , Jesús Dorado , Manuel Hidalgo and Miguel Moreno-Millán
pp. 351-359

Chromosomal abnormalities are primary contributors to reduced efficiency of in IVF embryos, having a negative effect on the success of the entire process. Herein, we demonstrate that sperm fertilising concentration and handling increase the appearance of such chromosomal abnormalities. By using a lower sperm concentration and an adequate capacitation compound, the effect of chromosomal abnormalities in IVF embryos can be reduced.

 
  
 

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Progestin priming before gonadotrophin stimulation and AI improves embryo development and normalises luteal function in the cat 
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Rosemary A. Stewart , Adrienne E. Crosier , Katharine M. Pelican , Budhan S. Pukazhenthi , Brandon D. Sitzmann , Tom E. Porter , David E. Wildt , Mary Ann Ottinger and JoGayle Howard
pp. 360-371

Exogenous gonadotrophins can alter endocrine dynamics and inhibit embryo development in felids. We demonstrate that priming the cat ovary with oral progestin before gonadotrophin stimulation and AI mitigates the negative influence of gonadotrophin therapy by normalising luteal function and improving embryonic developmental competence. These data enhance our understanding of the mechanisms involved in cat ovarian control and have practical implications for refining assisted reproductive technologies in endangered felids.

 
  
 

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Interaction between differential gene expression profile and phenotype in bovine blastocysts originating from oocytes exposed to elevated non-esterified fatty acid concentrations 
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V. Van Hoeck , D. Rizos , A. Gutierrez-Adan , I. Pintelon , E. Jorssen , I. Dufort , M. A. Sirard , A. Verlaet , N. Hermans , P. E. J. Bols and J. L. M. R. Leroy
pp. 372-384

Metabolic disorders are risk factors for reproductive failure and elevated non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) concentrations have been proposed as key contributors by affecting oocyte quality. The aim of this study was to unravel the underlying molecular mechanisms through which NEFAs impact on bovine maturing oocytes and subsequent embryo development. Transcriptome and functional data point to metabolic dysregulation in the resulting preimplantation embryos, findings that might explain the reduced conception rates in females across species suffering lipolytic disorders.

 
  
 

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Dynamic changes in nuclear import of a nuclear localisation signal-bearing substrate in 8-cell stage porcine embryos 
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Yanfang Li , Ki-Eun Park and Ryan A. Cabot
pp. 385-394

Mechanisms that partition intracellular proteins between the nucleus and cytoplasm have been shown to be critical players in cellular differentiation. Using the porcine embryo as our model, we found that the activity of discrete nuclear import pathways changes during progression from the oocyte to the 8-cell stage embryo. This suggests that nuclear import pathways serve a critical role regulating cleavage development.

 
  
 

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Influence of pathogenic bacteria species present in the postpartum bovine uterus on proteome profiles 
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A. M. Ledgard , G. A. Smolenski , H. Henderson and R. S.-F. Lee
pp. 395-406

After parturition >90% of dairy cows will have some form of uterine infection with the risk of developing endometritis, which can reduce conception rates. We examined the effect of uterine infection or inflammation on the postpartum uterus and identified 12 proteins that correlated with the presence of bacterial pathogens and polymorphonuclear neutrophils. These indicator proteins could be used as biomarkers of subclinical endometritis.

   |        Open Access Article
 

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Oxygen-regulated gene expression in murine cumulus cells 
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Karen L. Kind , Kimberley K. Y. Tam , Kelly M. Banwell , Ashley D. Gauld , Darryl L. Russell , Anne M. Macpherson , Hannah M. Brown , Laura A. Frank , Daniel J. Peet and Jeremy G. Thompson
pp. 407-418

Oxygen is a key component of the environment during oocyte maturation, in vivo and in vitro. Expression of target genes of the hypoxia-inducible factors was increased in cumulus cells from mouse cumulus–oocyte complexes matured in vitro at 2% or 5%, compared with 20% oxygen. Oxygen-regulated gene expression is identified as a potential mechanism through which oxygen could influence cumulus cell function.

 
  
 

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Aging alters histone H3 lysine 4 methylation in mouse germinal vesicle stage oocytes 
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Gen-Bao Shao , Jie Wang , Liu-Ping Zhang , Chao-Yang Wu , Jie Jin , Jian-Rong Sang , Hong-Yan Lu , Ai-Hua Gong , Feng-Yi Du and Wan-Xin Peng
pp. 419-426

Abnormalities of chromatin modifications in old MII oocytes are the leading cause of mammalian infertility. Recent studies report that changes in histone acetylation at the MII stage arise at the GV stage. In the present study, aging caused abnormalities of histone methylation and demethylase at the GV stage. Inhibition of the demethylase alleviated some of the aging-caused GV abnormalities. These results provide insights for future studies into the effects of reproductive aging on chromatin modifications.

 
  
 

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Corrigendum to: 18 COMPARISON BETWEEN THE EFFICIENCY OF 30-MG FLUROGESTONE ACETATE INTRAVAGINAL SPONGE (FGA-30) AND CONTROLLED INTERNAL DRUG RELEASE (CIDR) TO SYNCHRONIZE OESTRUS IN EWES 
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A. Swelum , A. Al-Owaimer and M. Abouheif
pp. 427-427
   | Corrigendum (503 KB)
 

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Corrigendum to: 131 CHROMOSOMAL ABNORMALITIES IN IN VITRO-PRODUCED 4-DAY-OLD CATTLE EMBRYOS: INFLUENCE OF THE OOCYTE MATURATION MEDIA 
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S. Demyda Peyrás and M. Moreno Millán
pp. 427-427
   | Corrigendum (512 KB)
 

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Corrigendum to: 198 AGE EFFECT ON RELATIVE GENE EXPRESSION OF BOVINE SPERMATOGONIA 
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M. I. Giassetti , P. V. Moreira , M. D. Goissis , F. R. Oliveira de Barros , J. C. Delgado , C. M. Mendes , P. M. Assis , M. E. O. d'Á. Assumpção and J. A. Visintin
pp. 427-427
   | Corrigendum (47 KB)
 

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These articles have been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. They are still in production and have not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

    RD14166  Accepted 23 January 2015
    The transcriptome of early embryonic invasion at implantation sites in a murine model
    Juan Moreno-Moya, Anahi Franchi, Sebastián Martínez-Escribano, José Martínez-Conejero, Silvina Bocca, Sergio Oehninger, José Horcajadas
    Abstract


    RD14246  Accepted 21 January 2015
    Phenotype switching through epigenetic conversion
    Tiziana Brevini, Georgia Pennarossa, Sara Maffei, Fulvio Gandolfi
    Abstract


    RD14483  Accepted 20 January 2015
    Steroids in the equine oviduct: synthesis. local concentrations and receptor expression
    Hilde Nelis, Julie Vanden Bussche, Bartosz Wojciechowicz, Anita Franczak, Lynn Vanhaecke, Bart Leemans, Katrien Smits, Pieter Cornillie, Luc Peelman, Ann Van Soom
    Abstract


    RD14474  Accepted 20 January 2015
    Antioxidant supplementation during in vitro culture improves mitochondrial function and development of embryos from aged female mice
    Elena Silva, Alison Greene, Kevin Strauss, Jason Herrick, William Schoolcraft, Rebecca Krisher
    Abstract


    RD14399  Accepted 20 January 2015
    Sperm Superoxide Dismutase is Associated with Bull Fertility
    Kamilah Grant, Rodrigo Oliveira, Bettye Hennington, Aruna Govindaraju, Andy Perkins, John Stokes, Dennis Rowe, Einko Topper, Abdullah Kaya, Arlindo Moura, Erdogan Memili
    Abstract


    RD14310  Accepted 13 January 2015
    Ambient ionization mass spectrometry for lipid profiling and structural analysis of oocytes, preimplantation embryos and stem cells
    Christina Ferreira, Alan Jarmusch, Valentina Pirro, Clint Alfaro, Andres González-Serrano, Heiner Niemann, Matthew Wheeler, Rathnaweera Rabel, Judy Hallett, Rebecca Houser, Annemarie Kaufman, R. Graham Cooks
    Abstract


    RD14352  Accepted 13 January 2015
    Effects of long-term diet supplementation with conjugated linoleic acid on bovine oocyte lipid profile
    Andres González-Serrano, Christina Ferreira, Valentina Pirro, Andrea Lucas-Hahn, Julia Heinzmann, Klaus-Gerd Hadeler, Ulrich Baulain, Patrick Aldag, Doris Herrmann, Ulrich Meyer, Marion Piechotta, Gerhard Jahreis, Sven Dänicke, R. Graham Cooks, Heiner Niemann
    Abstract


    RD14419  Accepted 19 January 2015
    Accuracy of preimplantation genetic diagnosis in equine in vivo-recovered and in vitro-produced blastocysts
    Young Ho Choi, Cecilia Pinedo, Pratibha Daftari, Catalina Velez, Katrin Hinrichs
    Abstract


    RD14181  Accepted 19 January 2015
    Time within reproductive season, but not age or inbreeding coefficient, influences seminal and sperm quality in the whooping crane (Grus americana)
    Megan Brown, Sarah Converse, Jane Chandler, Adrienne Crosier, Warren Lynch, David Wildt, Carol Keefer, Nucharin Songsasen
    Abstract


    RD14063  Accepted 19 January 2015
    Human sperm aneuploidy after exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
    Joanna Jurewicz, MichaÅ‚ Radwan, Wojciech Sobala, SÅ‚awomir Brzeźnicki, PaweÅ‚ Radwan, Lucjusz Jakubowski, Wanda HawuÅ‚a, Anna UlaÅ„ska, Wojciech Hanke
    Abstract


    RD14417  Accepted 16 January 2015
    Relationship between apoptosis hallmarks in bull sperm and fertility: in vivo and in vitro studies
    Lauren Erickson, Tom Kroetsch, Muhammed Anzar
    Abstract


    RD14392  Accepted 15 January 2015
    Expression and immunolocalization of follicle-stimulating hormone receptors in gonads of newborn and adult female horses
    Dragos Scarlet, Ingrid Walter, Juraj Hlavaty, Christine Aurich
    Abstract


    RD14376  Accepted 15 January 2015
    Developmental competence of 8-16 cell stage bison embryos produced by interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer
    Leslie Gonzalez-Grajales, Laura Favetta, Allan King, Gabriela Mastromonaco
    Abstract


    RD14369  Accepted 15 January 2015
    The impact of storage temperature and sperm number on the fertility of liquid-stored bull semen
    Craig Murphy, Shauna Holden, Edel Murphy, Andrew Cromie, Patrick Lonergan, Sean Fair
    Abstract


    RD14382  Accepted 13 January 2015
    Mutations in the leptin receptor gene associated with delayed onset of puberty are also associated with decreased ovulation rates and lambing rates in prolific Davisdale sheep
    Jennifer Juengel, Michelle French, Anne O'Connell, Sara Edwards, Avijit Haldar, Rudiger Brauning, Phil Farquhar, Ken Dodds, Susan Galloway, Peter Johnstone, George Davis
    Abstract


    RD14441  Accepted 10 January 2015
    Maternal control of early embryogenesis in mammals
    Kun Zhang, George Smith
    Abstract


    RD14421  Accepted 10 January 2015
    Blastocyst Metabolism
    David Gardner, Alexandra Harvey
    Abstract


    RD14375  Accepted 09 January 2015
    Use of an organotypic mammalian in vitro follicle growth (IVFG) assay to facilitate female reproductive toxicity screening
    Yuanming Xu, Francesca Duncan, Min Xu, Teresa Woodruff
    Abstract


    RD14359  Accepted 10 January 2015
    Applying metabolomic analyses to the practice of embryology: Physiology, development and ART
    Rebecca Krisher, Adam Heuberger, Melissa Paczkowski, John Stevens, Courtney Pospisil, Randall Prather, Roger Sturmey, Jason Herrick, William Schoolcraft
    Abstract


    RD14343  Accepted 10 January 2015
    Nutrient pathways regulating the nuclear maturation of mammalian oocytes
    Stephen Downs
    Abstract


    RD14278  Accepted 10 January 2015
    History of oocyte and embryo metabolism
    Henry Leese
    Abstract


    RD14245  Accepted 10 January 2015
    Oestrous cycle dependent expression of FAS and BCL2 family gene products in normal canine endometrium
    Sofia Henriques, Elisabete Silva, Silvia Cruz, Marta Silva, Graça Ferreira-Dias, Luis Lopes-da-Costa, Luisa Mateus
    Abstract


    RD14459  Accepted 08 January 2015
    Association between endometrial thickness in oocyte donation cycles and pregnancy success rates
    Hans Arce, Esther Velilla, Marisa Lopez-Teijón
    Abstract


    RD14377  Accepted 08 January 2015
    One-carbon metabolism and epigenetic regulation of embryo development
    Juan Xu, Kevin Sinclair
    Abstract


    RD14363  Accepted 08 January 2015
    Nutrition and maternal metabolic health in relation to oocyte and embryo quality; critical views on what we learned from the dairy cow model?
    Jo Leroy, Sara Valckx, Lies Jordaens, Jessie De Bie, Karolien Desmet, Veerle Van Hoeck, Jack Britt, Waleed Marei, Peter Bols
    Abstract


    RD14321  Accepted 08 January 2015
    Distinct localization of lipids in the ovarian follicular environment
    Tawiwan Pantasri, Linda Wu, Louise Hull, Thomas Sullivan, Michael Barry, Robert Norman, Rebecca Robker
    Abstract


    RD14285  Accepted 08 January 2015
    Dexamethasone treatment of pregnant F0 mice leads to parent of origin-specific changes in placental function of the F2 generation
    Owen Vaughan, Helen Phillips, Angharad Everden, Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri, Abigail Fowden
    Abstract


    RD14353  Accepted 07 January 2015
    An integrated approach of bovine oocyte quality: from phenotype to genes
    Leslie Angulo, Catherine Guyader-Joly, Sylvain Auclair, Christelle Hennequet-Antier, Pascal Papillier, Mekki Boussaha, Sébastien Fritz, Karine Hugot, François Moreews, Claire Ponsart, Patrice Humblot, Rozenn Dalbies-Tran
    Abstract


    RD14504  Accepted 05 January 2015
    Spermatozoa of Sminthopsis murina (Mammalia: Metatheria) exhibit an unusually high degree of chromatin stability in the absence of disulphide bonding in protamine 1
    Stephen Johnston, Carmen Lopez-Fernandez, Paqui Arroyo, Rosa Roy, Sonya Fardell, Jaime Gosalvez
    Abstract


    RD14328  Accepted 06 January 2015
    Hyperglycaemia and lipid differentially impair mouse oocyte developmental competence
    Siew Wong, Linda Wu, Rebecca Robker, Jeremy Thompson, Melanie Sutton-McDowall
    Abstract


    RD14279  Accepted 27 December 2014
    Morphological and molecular characterization of Twitcher mouse spermatogenesis: an update
    Erica Puggioni, Laura Governini, Martina Gori, Giuseppe Belmonte, Paola Piomboni, Elvira Costantino-Ceccarini, Alice Luddi
    Abstract


    RD14210  Accepted 21 December 2014
    Gene expression in the mammary gland of the tammar wallaby during the lactation cycle reveals conserved mechanisms regulating mammalian lactation
    Christy Vander Jagt, Jane Whitley, Michael Goddard, Ben Cocks
    Abstract


    RD14432  Accepted 13 December 2014
    Outcomes of food deprivation and exogenous melatonin on oxidative stress markers and apoptosis; an experimental study
    Shiva Nasiraei-Moghadam, Kazem Parivar, Abolhasan Ahmadiani, Mansoure Movahedin, Mohamad-Reza Vaez-Mahdavi
    Abstract


    RD14211  Accepted 02 December 2014
    Breed specific factors influence embryonic lipid composition: comparison between Jersey and Holstein
    Luis Baldoceda Baldeon, Isabelle Gilbert, Dominic Gagne, Christian Vigneault, Patrick Blondin, Christina Ferreira, Claude Robert
    Abstract


    RD12339  Accepted 19 October 2012
    The critical importance of ovarian angiogenesis
    Bob Robinson
    Abstract




The Most Read ranking is based on the number of downloads from the CSIRO PUBLISHING website of articles published in the previous 12 months. Usage statistics are updated daily.

Rank Paper Details
1. Published 6 January 2014
Predictive value of bovine follicular components as markers of oocyte developmental potential

Satoko Matoba, Katrin Bender, Alan G. Fahey, Solomon Mamo, Lorraine Brennan, Patrick Lonergan and Trudee Fair

2. Published 19 June 2014
Replacing serum in culture medium with albumin and insulin, transferrin and selenium is the key to successful bovine embryo development in individual culture

E. Wydooghe, S. Heras, J. Dewulf, S. Piepers, E. Van den Abbeel, P. De Sutter, L. Vandaele and A. Van Soom

3. Published 4 December 2014
IETS 2015 abstracts


4. Published 6 January 2014
Paradoxical effect of supplementary progesterone between Day 3 and Day 7 on corpus luteum function and conceptus development in cattle

L. O'Hara, N. Forde, F. Carter, D. Rizos, V. Maillo, A. D. Ealy, A. K. Kelly, P. Rodriguez, N. Isaka, A. C. O. Evans and P. Lonergan

5. Published 22 August 2014
Three-dimensional systems for in vitro follicular culture: overview of alginate-based matrices

Ivina R. Brito, Isadora M. T. Lima, Min Xu, Lonnie D. Shea, Teresa K. Woodruff and José R. Figueiredo

6. Published 6 January 2014
Reductions in the number of mid-sized antral follicles are associated with markers of premature ovarian senescence in dairy cows

Silvia C. Modina, Irene Tessaro, Valentina Lodde, Federica Franciosi, Davide Corbani and Alberto M. Luciano

7. Published 12 March 2014
Effect of hCG administration during corpus luteum establishment on subsequent corpus luteum development and circulating progesterone concentrations in beef heifers

V. Maillo, P. Duffy, L. O'Hara, C. de Frutos, A. K. Kelly, P. Lonergan and D. Rizos

8. Published 4 December 2014
Gamete derivation from embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells or somatic cell nuclear transfer-derived embryonic stem cells: state of the art

Charles A. Easley, Calvin R. Simerly and Gerald Schatten

9. Published 17 July 2014
MicroRNA-regulated molecular mechanism underlying bovine subclinical endometritis

D. Hailemariam, S. Ibrahim, M. Hoelker, M. Drillich, W. Heuwieser, C. Looft, M. U. Cinar, E. Tholen, K. Schellander and D. Tesfaye

10. Published 4 December 2014
Exploring the function of long non-coding RNA in the development of bovine early embryos

Julieta Caballero, Isabelle Gilbert, Eric Fournier, Dominic Gagné, Sara Scantland, Angus Macaulay and Claude Robert

11. Published 8 April 2014
Elements of functional genital asymmetry in the cow

B. Trigal, C. Díez, M. Muñoz, J. N. Caamaño, F. Goyache, E. Correia-Alvarez, F. J. Corrales, M. I. Mora, S. Carrocera, D. Martin and E. Gómez

12. Published 22 August 2014
Pentose phosphate pathway activity: effect on in vitro maturation and oxidative status of bovine oocytes

Cynthia Gutnisky, Gabriel C. Dalvit, Jeremy G. Thompson and Pablo D. Cetica

13. Published 4 December 2014
Epigenetics, embryo quality and developmental potential

Nathalie Beaujean

14. Published 6 January 2014
Effects of systemic progesterone during the early luteal phase on the availabilities of amino acids and glucose in the bovine uterine lumen

Michael P. Mullen, Fuller W. Bazer, Guoyao Wu, Mervyn H. Parr, Alexander C. O. Evans, Mark A. Crowe and Michael G. Diskin

15. Published 17 July 2014
Reduced levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species and apoptotic status are not correlated with increases in cryotolerance of bovine embryos produced in vitro in the presence of antioxidants

Nathália A. S. Rocha-Frigoni, Beatriz C. S. Leão, Ériklis Nogueira, Mônica F. Accorsi and Gisele Z. Mingoti

16. Published 6 January 2014
Bovine spermatozoa react to in vitro heat stress by activating the mitogen-activated protein kinase 14 signalling pathway

Mohammad Bozlur Rahman, Leen Vandaele, Tom Rijsselaere, Mohamed Shehab El-Deen, Dominiek Maes, Mohammed Shamsuddin and Ann Van Soom

17. Published 8 October 2014
Cryotolerance and global gene-expression patterns of Bos taurus indicus and Bos taurus taurus in vitro- and in vivo-produced blastocysts

Mateus J. Sudano, Ester S. Caixeta, Daniela M. Paschoal, Alicio Martins, Rui Machado, José Buratini and Fernanda D. C. Landim-Alvarenga

18. Published 12 March 2014
Valproic acid enhances early development of bovine somatic cell nuclear transfer embryos by alleviating endoplasmic reticulum stress

Bong-Seok Song, Seung-Bin Yoon, Bo-Woong Sim, Young-Hyun Kim, Jae-Jin Cha, Seon-A Choi, Kang-Jin Jeong, Ji-Su Kim, Jae-Won Huh, Sang-Rae Lee, Sang-Hyun Kim, Sun-Uk Kim and Kyu-Tae Chang

19. Published 6 January 2014
Follicular dynamics and gene expression in granulosa cells, corpora lutea and oocytes from gilts of breeds with low and high ovulation rates

P. V. Silva, S. E. F. Guimarães, J. D. Guimarães, C. S. Nascimento, P. S. Lopes, J. B. Siqueira, L. S. Amorim, F. Fonseca e Silva and G. R. Foxcroft

20. Analysis and characterisation of bovine oocyte and embryo biomarkers by matrix-assisted desorption ionisation mass spectrometry imaging

Roseli F. Gonçalves, Mónica S. Ferreira, Diogo N. de Oliveira, Rafael Canevarolo, Marcos A. Achilles, Daniela L. D'Ercole, Peter E. Bols, Jose A. Visintin, Gary J. Killian and Rodrigo R. Catharino


      
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