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


M. D. Goissis A , P. J. Ross A and J. B. Cibelli B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Animal Science, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA;

B Departments of Animal Science and Physiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA;

C Programa Andaluz de Terapia Celular y Medicina Regenerativa, Andalucia, Spain;

D CAPES Foundation, Ministry of Education of Brazil, Brasília, Brazil

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 22(1) 232-233
Published: 8 December 2009


Derivation of true bovine embryonic stem cells (ESC), as defined by their capacity to form robust teratomas and/or contribute to the germ line in chimeras, has not been achieved despite several attempts. It is possible that failures to derive bonafide bovine ESC are due to the inability of bovine embryonic cells to adapt to in vitro culture conditions that favor ESC derivation. Wnt pathways are involved in pluripotency and self-renewal of mouse and human ESC. Wnt signaling is also required for implantation competence in mouse blastocysts. Given the shared developmental potential between inner cell mass (ICM) and ESC, we hypothesized that Wnt could act on the ICM of bovine embryos increasing its proliferation potential. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of post-embryonic genome activation Wnt3A supplementation on blastocyst formation and cell allocation to ICM and trophectoderm (TE). In vitro fertilized bovine embryos at Day 4 of culture in KSOM medium were divided into 3 treatments: Control, no co-culture; co-culture with regular mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF); and co-culture with mouse L fibroblasts overexpressing Wnt3A protein (L-Wnt3A, Willert et al. 2003 Nature 423, 448-452). Embryos were cultured until Day 8 when blastocyst and hatching rates were recorded. Then, embryos were submitted to differential staining of ICM and TE by brief exposure to 0.25% Triton X-100 in PBS and staining with bisbenzimide and propidium iodide. Six IVF replications were performed and a total of 39 embryos were counted: 11 for Control, 16 for MEF, and 12 for L-Wnt3A. Only intact embryos after processing were used for cell count. Statistical analysis was performed by ANOVA using PROC MIXED of SAS software (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA) in which each IVF was considered as a block with Tukey’s adjustment for mean comparison of rates and Bonferroni adjustments for mean comparison of cell counts. Results for blastocyst rate, hatching rate, ICM, TE, and total cell number are presented in the table below. Different superscript letters within columns indicate significant statistical difference (P < 0.05). These results indicate that L-Wnt3A fibroblast co-culture exerts a positive effect on bovine embryo cell number, resulting in a larger number of ICM cells in bovine embryos, which could be beneficial for ESC derivation attempts.

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