Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Impact of equine assisted reproductive technologies (standard embryo transfer or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) with in vitro culture and embryo transfer) on placenta and foal morphometry and placental gene expression

Orlando A. Valenzuela A , Anne Couturier-Tarrade B , Young-Ho Choi A , Marie-Christine Aubrière B , Justin Ritthaler C , Pascale Chavatte-Palmer B and Katrin Hinrichs A D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, 4466 TAMU, College Station, TX, 77843-4466, USA.

B UMR BDR, INRA, ENVA, Université Paris Saclay, 78350, Jouy en Josas, France.

C Weatherford Equine Breeding Center, 6375 Mineral Wells Highway, Weatherford, TX, 76088, USA.

D Corresponding author. Email: khinrichs@cvm.tamu.edu

Reproduction, Fertility and Development - https://doi.org/10.1071/RD16536
Submitted: 31 December 2016  Accepted: 18 June 2017   Published online: 24 July 2017

Abstract

Assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), in vitro embryo culture and embryo transfer (ET) may be associated with alterations in fetal and placental development. In horses, ET has been used for decades. More recently, in vitro embryo production by ICSI and in vitro culture, followed by embryo transfer (ICSI-C) has become an accepted method for clinical foal production. However, no information is available on the effects of ICSI-C or even of standard ET itself on placental and neonatal parameters in horses. We therefore evaluated placental and neonatal morphology and placental gene expression in reining- and cutting-type American Quarter Horse foals produced using different technologies. Thirty foals and placentas (naturally conceived (NC), ET and ICSI-C; 10 in each group) were examined morphometrically. The only parameter that differed significantly between groups was the length of the foal upper hindlimb, which was longer in ET and ICSI-C than in NC foals. Evaluation of placental mRNA expression for 17 genes related to growth and vascularisation showed no difference in gene expression between groups. These data indicate that within this population, use of ARTs was not associated with meaningful changes in foal or placental morphometry or in expression of the placental genes evaluated.

Additional keywords: blastocyst, development, large offspring syndrome horse, neonate, parturition.


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