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


A. Gad A , M. Hoelker A , F. Rings A , N. Ghanem A , D. Salilew-Wondim A , D. Tesfaye A , C. Phatsara A , K. Schellander A , V. Havlicek B and U. Besenfelder B

A Institute of Animal Breeding Science, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany;

B Institute of Animal Breeding and Genetics, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 22(1) 278-278
Published: 8 December 2009


Estrus synchronization and superovulation are the most widely used procedures in embryo transfer technology. However, changes in the oviduct and uterine environment due to these procedures and the subsequent influence on embryos have not yet been investigated. This study was con- ducted to investigate the effect of oviduct environment of only synchronized or superovulated cyclic heifers on the gene expression profile of blastocysts. Bovine Affymetrix array analysis was performed using 2 groups of blastocysts. The first group was bovine blastocysts produced after superovulation of Simmental heifers (n = 9) using 8 consecutive FSH injections over 4 days in decreasing doses (in total, 300-400 mg of FSH equivalent according to body weight) and flushed at Day 7 by nonsurgical endoscopic method. The second group was bovine blastocysts derived from synchronized Simmental heifers (n = 4) after transfer of 2-cell stage embryos from superovulated donor Simmental heifers (n = 9) by nonsurgical transvaginal endoscopy tubal transfer method. Total RNA was extracted from 3 pools of embryos from each experimental group (6 embryos per pool). A total of 6 biotin-labeled cRNA samples were hybridized on 6 bovine Affymetrix arrays. Data analysis was performed using LIMMA written on R package, which maintained the Bioconductor. Array data analysis revealed a total of 454 transcripts to be differen- tially expressed (P < 0.05, fold change >2) between the 2 groups. Of these, 429 and 25 were up- and down-regulated, respectively, in blastocysts derived from superovulated heifers compared with those derived from synchronized animals. Genes involved in response to stress (HSPA14 and HSPE1), cellular and metabolic processes (CPSF3, ATPIF1, POMP, and MDH2), translation (RPS17, EEF1B2, and EIF4E), and cell commu- nication (FN1, KRT18, and DSG2) were found to be enriched in blastocysts derived from superovulated animals. On the other hand, protein metabolic processes related genes (CLGN) were found to be enriched in blastocysts derived from the synchronized group. The KEGG analysis of the differentially expressed genes showed that the ribosome and oxidative phosphorylation pathways are the dominant pathways and genes involved in these pathways are greatly abundant in the blastocysts derived from superovulated animals. Quantitative real-time PCR has confirmed the transcript abundance of 7 out of 8 genes selected for validation. In conclusion, blastocysts cultured in synchronized animals post 2-cell stage showed significant differences in transcriptome profile compared with their counterparts that remained in superovulated heifers until Day 7. Further functional analysis of some selected candidate genes could give new insights into mechanisms regulating the ability of embryos to survive after transfer.

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