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RFD is the official journal of the International Embryo Transfer Society and the Society for Reproductive Biology.


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 4(4)

Metabolic and developmental responses of preimplantation embryos to platelet activating factor (PAF)

JP Ryan, C O'Neill, AJ Ammit and CG Roberts

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 4(4) 387 - 398
Published: 1992


Platelet activating factor (PAF) is an ether phospholipid produced by preimplantation embryos of a number of species. Production of PAF by embryos has been measured by detecting thrombocytopenia in a splenectomized mouse bioassay, platelet aggregation bioassays in vitro and a specific radioimmunoassay. Production is highly variable and is adversely affected by culture in vitro. It has, however, been correlated with morphology, development rates in vitro and the pregnancy potential of embryos following transfer. Investigations using PAF-antagonists have established an essential role for PAF in early pregnancy. Together with studies that have shown PAF to have direct effects on embryonic metabolism during culture in vitro, these observations suggest that PAF acts as an embryonic autocoid. Hence, a major site of action for embryo-derived PAF in vivo is the embryo itself. Supplementation of embryo culture media with PAF had no effect on the rate of development in vitro of 2-cell mouse embryos through to the blastocyst stage. However, PAF increased cell numbers of blastocysts cultured from the 2-cell stage and the mitotic index of embryos at both the 8-cell and blastocyst stages. Supplementation of culture media with PAF has also been shown to increase the implantation potential of both mouse and human embryos cultured in vitro. In the mouse, the effect of PAF in enhancing implantation rates was most evident when the developmental potential of untreated embryos was suboptimal. These observations suggest that the production of embryo-derived PAF is one limiting factor in maintaining the viability of embryos cultured in vitro.

Full text doi:10.1071/RD9920387

© CSIRO 1992

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