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Vertebrate reproductive science and technology

Reproduction, Fertility and Development

Reproduction, Fertility and Development

Reproduction, Fertility and Development publishes research and reviews on all aspects of vertebrate reproduction and developmental biology. Read more about the journalMore

Editor-in-Chief: Graeme Martin

Current Issue

Reproduction, Fertility and Development

Volume 29 Number 1 2017

Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Embryo Technology Society, Austin, Texas, 14–17 January 2017
Full Papers and Abstracts for Poster Presentation

Online Early

The peer-reviewed and edited version of record published online before inclusion in an issue

Published online 06 December 2016

RD15542Cholesterol metabolism in rabbit blastocysts under maternal diabetes

S. Mareike Pendzialek, Maria Schindler, Torsten Plösch, Jacqueline Gürke, Elisa Haucke, Stefanie Hecht, Bernd Fischer and Anne Navarrete Santos
 

A diabetic pregnancy leads to distinct changes in maternal cholesterol metabolism, whereas embryonic cholesterol concentrations and cholesterol metabolism genes are not affected. The trophoblast : embryoblast cholesterol ratio suggests a higher metabolic activity of the embryoblast in diabetes. The findings of the present study imply independent and functional cholesterol metabolism in the mammalian embryo before implantation.

Published online 06 December 2016

RD16382The current state of reproductive biology research in Australia and New Zealand: core themes from the Society for Reproductive Biology Annual Meeting, 2016

L. K. Akison, P. H. Andraweera, M. J. Bertoldo, H. M. Brown, J. S. M. Cuffe, T. Fullston, O. Holland and J. E. Schjenken
 

Reproductive science is central to our understanding of biology, translating to biological processes across many organ systems. The Society for Reproductive Biology conference review provides a focused summary of symposia at the 2016 annual meeting. The presentations highlight the breadth of reproductive research in Australia and New Zealand and its potential to affect the fertility and health of future generations.

Published online 28 November 2016

RD16213Protein in culture and endogenous lipid interact with embryonic stages in vitro to alter calf birthweight after embryo vitrification and warming

E. Gómez, S. Carrocera, S. Uzbekova, D. Martín, A. Murillo, M. Alonso-Guervós, F. Goyache and M. Muñoz
 

Intracellular lipid is involved in long-term blastocyst competence to survive vitrification. We studied how protein removal affects bovine embryo development in vitro, lipid content and pregnancy outcomes, and found that calf weight at birth was altered depending on specific embryonic kinetics within vitrified–warmed embryos. Therefore, it is possible to modify calf phenotypes by introducing simple changes in culture conditions combined with selection of embryos.

Published online 23 November 2016

RD16174Rosmarinic acid reverses the effects of metronidazole-induced infertility in male albino rats

Zina M. Al-Alami, Ziad A. Shraideh and Mutasem O. Taha
 

Metronidazole, an essential medicine, adversely affects male fertility. We aimed at investigating the capability of Rosmarinic acid to reverse metranidazole induced male infertility. We found that certain doses of Rosmarinic acid could reverse metronidazole’s effects on sperm count, motility, morphology and testis ultrastructure. Our findings have great clinical implications where Rosmarinic acid might have a potential use in reversing Metronidazole induced male infertility.

Published online 17 November 2016

RD15504Regulation of heat-inducible HSPA1A gene expression during maternal-to-embryo transition and in response to heat in in vitro-produced bovine embryos

Jean-Marc Lelièvre, Nathalie Peynot, Sylvie Ruffini, Ludivine Laffont, Daniel Le Bourhis, Pierre-Marie Girard and Véronique Duranthon
 

Early mammalian embryos are sensitive to heat stress (HS) despite abundant oocytic iHSPA protein chaperones and mRNAs typically induced by stress. In this work, bovine HSPA1A gene transcription was detectable during embryo genome activation but induced by HS only after this stage, which coincides with better embryonic tolerance. Absence of stress-induced gene expression may therefore contribute to embryo sensitivity.

Published online 11 November 2016

RD16297Effect of nutritionally induced hyperlipidaemia on in vitro bovine embryo quality depends on the type of major fatty acid in the diet

Waleed F. A. Marei, Maria Arias Alvarez, Veerle Van Hoeck, Alfonso Gutierrez-Adan, Peter E. J. Bols and Jo L. M. R. Leroy
 

Hyperlipidemia associated with unbalanced diet and obesity is directly linked with reduced fertility. This study shows that substituting saturated fat with omega-3 fat in high caloric diets can alleviate detrimental effects of hyperlipidemic serum on bovine early embryo development and quality in vitro. This suggests that dietary manipulation of serum fatty acid profile may enhance fertility in patients with metabolic disorders.

Published online 02 November 2016

RD16154Gene expression profile in heat-shocked Holstein and Nelore oocytes and cumulus cells

J. S. Ticianelli, I. P. Emanuelli, R. A. Satrapa, A. C. S. Castilho, B. Loureiro, M. J. Sudano, P. K. Fontes, R. F. P. Pinto, E. M. Razza, R. S. Surjus, R. Sartori, M. E. O. A. Assumpção, J. A. Visintin, C. M. Barros and F. F. Paula-Lopes
 

The deleterious effects of heat stress on fertility are more pronounced in dairy cows than beef cows. The transcriptome profile in Nelore and Holstein oocytes subjected to heat shock during IVM and the mRNA abundance of selected genes in cumulus cells were determined. The analyses indicated that the deficiency in dairy cattle in terms of cellular protection against heat stress is regulated at the post-transcriptional level.

Published online 26 October 2016

RD15535Sleep restriction in Wistar rats impairs epididymal postnatal development and sperm motility in association with oxidative stress

Gláucia E. M. L. Siervo, Fernanda M. Ogo, Aline D. Valério, Thamara N. X. Silva, Larissa Staurengo-Ferrari, Tathiana A. Alvarenga, Rubens Cecchini, Waldiceu A. Verri, Flávia A. Guarnier, Monica L. Andersen and Glaura S. A. Fernandes
 

Sleep alterations are a public health problem worldwide that affect adolescents during puberty because of early school hours and interactive activities. In the present study, sleep restriction during peripuberty in rats affected epididymal postnatal development and sperm motility, in association with oxidative stress and a decrease in the epithelial compartment in the cauda epididymidis. The results of this study suggest a possibility for improving fertility after sleep restriction.

Published online 26 October 2016

RD16223Effect and possible mechanisms of melatonin treatment on the quality and developmental potential of aged bovine oocytes

Shuang Liang, Jing Guo, Jeong-Woo Choi, Nam-Hyung Kim and Xiang-Shun Cui
 

This research expands our understanding of the regulators that delay oocyte aging. Treatment of aged oocytes with exogenous melatonin improves oocyte quality, rearranges the cytoskeleton and improves developmental capacity. Melatonin is a good agent for delaying oocyte aging in vitro and preventing poor developmental competence of bovine oocytes in assisted reproductive technologies.

Published online 19 October 2016

RD16183Induced sub-lethal oxidative damage affects osmotic tolerance and cryosurvival of spermatozoa

Franziska Ertmer, Harriëtte Oldenhof, Saskia Schütze, Karl Rohn, Willem F. Wolkers and Harald Sieme
 

If the physiological balance between production and scavenging of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is shifted towards production of ROS this may result in accumulation of cell damage. The aim of this study was to establish whether sub-lethal oxidative damage negatively affects cryosurvival and pre-freeze sperm osmotic tolerance. Generation of defined levels of intracellular ROS can be used for testing strategies designed to counteract oxidative damage.

Published online 19 October 2016

RD16310Reproductive dysfunction after mercury exposure at low levels: evidence for a role of glutathione peroxidase (GPx) 1 and GPx4 in male rats

Caroline S. Martinez, Franck M. Peçanha, Daniela S. Brum, Francielli W. Santos, Jeferson L. Franco, Ana Paula P. Zemolin, Janete A. Anselmo-Franci, Fernando B. Junior, María J. Alonso, Mercedes Salaices, Dalton V. Vassallo, Fábio G. Leivas and Giulia A. Wiggers
 

Mercury has been identified as a risk factor for declines in sperm quality and infertility in humans. The present study delves further into the mechanisms of action of mercury, showing a role for glutathione peroxidase (GPx) 1 and GPx4 in the reproductive toxicity of mercury. The involvement of the glutathione system highlights this antioxidant system as a potential target of mercury after its accumulation in reproductive organs.

Published online 14 October 2016

RD16037Ovariectomy increases the phenotypic plasticity of the female prostate epithelium in the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus)

Marianna Zanatelli, Ana M. G. Custodio, Manoel F. Biancardi, Fernanda C. A. Santos, Rejane M. Góes, Luiz R. Falleiros-Jr, Patricia S. L. Vilamaior and Sebastião R. Taboga
 

After hormonal deprivation the female gerbil prostate undergoes several morphophysiological changes. This work identified and characterised the cellular heterogeneity of the female prostate epithelium in normal conditions and after ovariectomy. Secretory cells of the female prostate are not morphologically and functionally uniform, presenting a phenotypical plasticity according to the hormonal environment in which they operate.


The current literature does not provide a comprehensive profile of the factors involved in placental development in rats during intrauterine trophoblast migration. In this study we evaluated the gene and/or protein expression of several placental factors during the second half of pregnancy in rats and demonstrated that the expression of proteases and immunological, angiogenic, hormonal and apoptotic mediators is variable and depends on the stage of trophoblast migration. These changes in the expression profile are probably related to alterations in placental morphogenesis and function.

Published online 11 October 2016

RD16232Influence of hyaluronan on endometrial receptivity and embryo attachment in sheep

Waleed F. A. Marei, D. Claire Wathes, Kabir A. Raheem, Omnia Mohey-Elsaeed, Fataneh Ghafari and Ali A. Fouladi-Nashta
 

Infusion of the ovine uterus with hyaluronan (HA) during the pre-attachment period changes the expression of some adhesion markers at the embryo–maternal interface, resulting in reduced endometrial receptivity and failure of embryo attachment. In contrast, local inhibition of HA production in the uterus enhances embryo attachment.

Published online 05 October 2016

RD15537Circulating anti-Müllerian hormone concentrations in relation to age and season in male and female beluga (Delphinapterus leucas)

Gisele A. Montano, Todd R. Robeck, Karen J. Steinman and Justine K. O'Brien
 

Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) has been proposed as a biomarker of ovarian reserve in women and has been detected in many species; however, this is the first characterisation of AMH in a cetacean. AMH was described in males and females from the year of birth to over 30 years of age during different reproductive seasons, and a decrease in AMH in older animals (>30 years old) was detected. AMH may be of value for reproductive health monitoring of the species and as a biomarker of reproductive senescence in both sexes.

Published online 05 October 2016

RD16200Non-surgical sterilisation methods may offer a sustainable solution to feral horse (Equus caballus) overpopulation

Sally Elizabeth Hall, Brett Nixon and R. John Aitken
 

Culling feral horses is currently met with public criticism, which has created an urgent need to develop new methods of population control. Delivery of a contraceptive agent that causes sterility, without the need for surgery, is currently under investigation. These novel techniques may provide a sustainable and effective alternative for feral horse control.


Sertoli cells, which support and coordinate developing sperm in the testes, were isolated from 8-week-old Holstein bull calves. A combination of two hormones (IGF-I and FSH) enhanced multiplication of Sertoli cells. We concluded that increased IGF-I concentrations in bull calves fed high-levels of nutrition during early life increases Sertoli cell number, supports testicular development and results in earlier puberty.

Published online 03 October 2016

RD16190Effects of freezing and activation on membrane quality and DNA damage in Xenopus tropicalis and Xenopus laevis spermatozoa

S. Morrow, J. Gosálvez, C. López-Fernández, F. Arroyo, W. V. Holt and M. J. Guille
 

Xenopus frogs are key organisms for studying basic biology and for modelling human disease. Genetically altered lines of frogs are therefore made, and it is important for animal welfare and cost-effectiveness to store these as frozen spermatozoa. In this study we show that Xenopus sperm cryopreservation damages the DNA and plasma membrane of spermatozoa and start to identify factors affecting damage levels.

Published online 28 September 2016

RD15553In vivo and in vitro maturation of rabbit oocytes differently affects the gene expression profile, mitochondrial distribution, apoptosis and early embryo development

M. Arias-Álvarez, R. M. García-García, J. López-Tello, P. G. Rebollar, A. Gutiérrez-Adán and P. L. Lorenzo
 

Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms implicated in oocyte competence during rabbit in vivo and in vitro maturation is necessary to improve IVM systems in these species. This study showed for the first time that gene expression profile of in vivo-matured rabbit COCs is different from that of IVM COCs and these changes are clearly accompanied by stage-specific cytoplasmic remodelling of mitochondria, a lower rate of apoptosis of in vivo-matured CCs and better early embryo development, indicating that oocyte quality is compromised during IVM.


The antioxidant defences of epididymal fluid and spermatozoa are modulated from the caput to cauda epididymidis in a region-specific manner in the goat (Capra hircus), and loss of some of the antioxidant enzymes from spermatozoa during their epididymal transit is compensated for through a simultaneous increase in the expression and/or activity of these enzymes in the epididymal fluid of the respective segments.

Published online 28 September 2016

RD16164Testicular parameters and spermatogenesis in different birthweight boars

P. A. Auler, G. H. F. A. Moreira, C. O. Hogg, C. J. Ashworth, F. P. Bortolozzo, H. Chiarini-Garcia and F. R. C. L. Almeida
 

Reports of the effects of birthweight on testicular development and implication for sperm production in boars are scarce. These effects were investigated in this study. It seems that high birthweight boars have the potential to produce more spermatozoa and semen doses per ejaculate. Hence, the selection of those boars would be predictive of better lifetime productivity in the boar stud.


Diabetes has a profound impact on women’s reproductive health. We aimed to investigate the protective effect of fish oil and wheat-germ oil supplementation on ovarian function in streptozotocin-diabetic rats. These natural supplements counteracted oxidative stress and inflammation induced by diabetes and regained ovarian function by increasing FSH, E2, LH and AMH levels and restoring follicle counts.

Published online 28 September 2016

RD16075Targeted deletion of the Kv6.4 subunit causes male sterility due to disturbed spermiogenesis

Glenn Regnier, Elke Bocksteins, Waleed F. Marei, Isabel Pintelon, Jean-Pierre Timmermans, Jo L. M. R. Leroy and Dirk J. Snyders
 

Several voltage-gated K+ (Kv) channel subunits are expressed in testis, but their contribution to testicular function remains largely unknown. We provide direct evidence of the relevance of Kv6.4 for male fertility since the targeted deletion of this gene in mice disrupted spermiogenesis, resulting in male sterility. This makes Kv6.4 a potentially interesting pharmacological target for the development of non-hormonal male contraceptives.

Published online 28 September 2016

RD16063Proliferation and apoptosis processes in the seasonal testicular development of the wild Daurian ground squirrel (Citellus dauricus Brandt, 1844)

Yingying Han, Jinqi Zhan, Ying Xu, Fengwei Zhang, Zhengrong Yuan and Qiang Weng
 

Male seasonal breeders show synchronised cycles of testicular growth and involution throughout the breeding cycle. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the regulatory role of cell proliferation and apoptosis in this dynamic testicular development. The study demonstrates, for the first time, that both cell proliferation and apoptosis are stimulated during the prehibernation period in wild Daurian ground squirrels. These findings advance our current understanding of the regulatory mechanisms of seasonal reproduction.

Published online 22 September 2016

RD15524Analysis of in vitro follicle development during the onset of premature ovarian insufficiency in a mouse model

Heidy Kaune, Sairah Sheikh and Suzannah A. Williams
 

The developmental potential of follicles from a mouse model of premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) was assessed using follicle culture. Although, follicles cultured from 3- and 6-week-old mice had decreased survival compared to Controls, a population of follicles retain the potential of full development in vitro. These results indicate that in vitro follicle culture is a promising method to rescue follicle development after the onset of POI in this model.

Published online 21 September 2016

RD15486Discs large homologue 1 (Dlg1) coordinates mouse oocyte polarisation during maturation

Jun-Chao Wang, Hong Lv, Ke-Liang Wu, Yun-Shan Zhang, Hai-Ning Luo and Zi-Jiang Chen
 

Mouse oocyte maturation is a unique asymmetric division and a lot of polarity proteins may play vital roles during this progress. Our study described an evolutionarily conserved polarity protein Discs-large homologue 1 becomes highly polarized by associating with cytoskeleton and lose-of-function of Dlg1 compromises oocyte maturation. It may provide a new theoretic framework for mammalian meiosis research.

Published online 21 September 2016

RD16238Imprinted and DNA methyltransferase gene expression in the endometrium during the pre- and peri-implantation period in cattle

A. M. O'Doherty, L. C. O'Shea, O. Sandra, P. Lonergan, T. Fair and N. Forde
 

A comprehensive understanding of biological processes in the endometrium is vital for identifying the key factors required for successful embryo recognition and implantation. The aim of the present study was to compare the expression of imprinted genes and DNA methyltransferases in the endometrium of cyclic and pregnant beef heifers. Results from this investigation provide new evidence that, in addition to their role in fetal and placental development, imprinted genes and DNA methyltransferases may have a role in establishing uterine receptivity.

Published online 21 September 2016

RD15489Expression of C-type lectin receptors and Toll-like receptors in decidua of patients with unexplained recurrent spontaneous abortion

Liang Xu, Tian Qiu, Yudong Wang, Yan Chen and Weiwei Cheng
 

This study aimed to explore the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of unexplained recurrent spontaneous abortion (URSA). The results suggest that the balance between C-type lectin-like receptors and Toll-like receptors (TLRs) was tilted towards a TLR-dominant response in URSA patients, which may disrupt maternal–fetal immune tolerance, resulting in spontaneous abortion.

Published online 13 September 2016

RD16110Profiling bovine blastocyst microRNAs using deep sequencing

R. Pasquariello, B. Fernandez-Fuertes, F. Strozzi, F. Pizzi, R. Mazza, P. Lonergan, F. Gandolfi and J. L. Williams
 

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) control several reproductive functions, including oocyte maturation, implantation and early embryonic development. We developed a method for accurate miRNA identification in a small sample of bovine blastocysts. Using pools of only 30 embryos, we identified miRNAs that regulate target genes and metabolic pathways that had not been associated with early embryogenesis before, and are potential biomarkers of developmental competence.

Published online 13 September 2016

RD15514Role of insulin-like growth factor 1 on cross-bred Bos indicus cattle germinal vesicle oocytes exposed to heat shock

Rafaela S. Lima, Pedro H. B. Risolia, Jéssica Ispada, Mayra E. O. A. Assumpção, José A. Visintin, Cássia Orlandi and Fabíola F. Paula-Lopes
 

Germinal vesicle oocytes are susceptible to heat stress. The present study demonstrated that the physiological IGF-I concentration of 12.5 ng/ml was able to revert the deleterious effects of heat shock on bovine GV oocyte cellular function and ability to became a blastocyst. This thermoprotective role of IGF1 warrants further in vivo IGF1 manipulation to improve dairy cow fertility during summer.

Published online 05 September 2016

RD15488In vitro oocyte maturation in a medium containing reduced sodium chloride improves the developmental competence of pig oocytes after parthenogenesis and somatic cell nuclear transfer

Joohyeong Lee, Hanna Lee, Yongjin Lee, Bola Park, Fazle Elahi, Seung Tae Lee, Choon-Keun Park, Sang-Hwan Hyun and Eunsong Lee
 

The quality of oocytes is a crucial factor in the field of reproductive biotechnology. We observed that maturation of pig oocytes in hypotonic medium with reduced NaCl improves the developmental competence of oocytes by affecting the cytoplasmic microenvironment. An oocyte maturation system using a medium with reduced NaCl could potentially improve the efficiency of reproduction in livestock species after further optimisation.

Published online 29 August 2016

RD16119Consumption of a high-fat diet alters the seminal fluid and gut microbiomes in male mice

Angela B. Javurek, William G. Spollen, Sarah A. Johnson, Nathan J. Bivens, Karen H. Bromert, Scott A. Givan and Cheryl S. Rosenfeld
 

We recently discovered that the male seminal vesicles harbour a novel seminal fluid microbiome (SFM). The present study shows that short-term feeding of a high-fat diet (HFD) changes the bacterial composition of the seminal fluid and fecal microbiomes. HFD-induced SFM alterations might lead to detrimental health consequences in males, their reproductive partners and resulting offspring.

Published online 24 August 2016

RD15512Effects of fetal calf serum on cGMP pathway and oocyte lipid metabolism in vitro

Kátia R. L. Schwarz, Ramon Cesar Botigelli, Maite Del Collado, Fernanda Cavallari de Castro, Hugo Fernandes, Daniela M. Paschoal and Cláudia Lima Verde Leal
 

Serum affects lipid metabolism in oocytes and embryos, and cGMP has been shown to affect lipolysis in adipocytes. The present study shows that serum in the maturation medium interferes with lipid metabolism in oocytes and cumulus cells and these effects depend, at least in part, on the cGMP pathway. Evidence of involvement of this pathway in lipolysis in cumulus–oocyte complexes could contribute to the development of better culture systems for the in vitro production of oocytes and embryos with lower lipid accumulation and better cryotolerance.

Published online 22 August 2016

RD15530Thawing boar semen in the presence of seminal plasma improves motility, modifies subpopulation patterns and reduces chromatin alterations

Rocío Fernández-Gago, Manuel Álvarez-Rodríguez, Marta E. Alonso, J. Ramiro González, Beatriz Alegre, Juan C. Domínguez and Felipe Martínez-Pastor
 

Seminal plasma could benefit boar semen when added during thawing. This study shows that that the addition of 10% or 50% seminal plasma during post-thawing incubation improved total motility and the motility pattern (motile subpopulations) of spermatozoa. Chromatin changes were almost non-existent for samples from some male boars, both after thawing and during the incubation, but in males susceptible to these sorts of chromatin changes, seminal plasma reduced or abolished them.

Published online 18 August 2016

RD16124Periconceptional undernutrition affects in utero methyltransferase expression and steroid hormone concentrations in uterine flushings and blood plasma during the peri-implantation period in domestic pigs

A. Franczak, K. Zglejc, E. Waszkiewicz, B. Wojciechowicz, M. Martyniak, W. Sobotka, S. Okrasa and G. Kotwica
 

A restricted diet applied to females during the peri-conceptional period may have consequences during the peri-implantation period. In this study we examined DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) and DNMT3a expression in endometrium and myometrium and oestradiol 17β (E2) and progesterone concentrations in the uterus and blood plasma in pigs during the peri-implantation period. Undernutrition during the peri-conceptional period affects maintenance and de novo DNA methylation in the endometrium, de novo DNA methylation in the myometrium and intrauterine E2 concentrations during the peri-implantation period.

Published online 11 August 2016

RD16205Changes in testicular function proteins and sperm acrosome status in rats treated with valproic acid

Wannisa Sukhorum and Sitthichai Iamsaard
 

The mechanism by which valproic acid (VPA) causes male infertility is not known. In the present study, testicular proteins and acrosome status were investigated in VPA-treated rats. Acrosome reacted spermatozoa and the expression of Ki-67, cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme (P450scc) and tyrosine phosphorylated proteins, except for steroidogenic acute regulatory protein, were decreased in VPA-treated rats. These changes to testicular proteins responsible for spermatogenesis result in male infertility after VPA treatment.

Published online 10 August 2016

RD16163Potential risks to offspring of intrauterine exposure to maternal age-related obstetric complications

Juan J. Tarín, Miguel A. García-Pérez and Antonio Cano
 

Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the negative effects of delayed motherhood on an offspring’s morbidity later in life, but they are not supported by clinical and epidemiological evidence. In the present study, we show that the negative effects on offspring of delayed motherhood may be induced by embryo or fetal epigenetic DNA reprogramming associated with maternal age-related obstetric complications. This outcome has direct clinical implications for those women wanting to enrol in a fertility preservation program to offset age-related declines in fertility.

Published online 04 August 2016

RD16056Evidence of proteinuria, but no other characteristics of pre-eclampsia, in relaxin-deficient mice

Kelly P. O'Sullivan, Sarah A. Marshall, Scott Cullen, Tahnee Saunders, Natalie J. Hannan, Sevvandi N. Senadheera and Laura J. Parry
 

This paper reports that pregnant mice deficient in relaxin (Rln–/–) did not exhibit characteristics associated with preeclampsia; plasma sFlt-1 concentrations and blood pressure in pregnant Rln–/– mice were no different compared with age-matched wildtype mice. Although there was evidence of proteinuria in older pregnant Rln–/– mice, this was also observed in non-pregnant mice and was not a consequence of pregnancy. Therefore, pregnant Rln–/– mice are not a suitable animal model to study preeclampsia.

Published online 03 August 2016

RD16007Circumventing the natural, frequent oestrogen waves of the female cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) using oral progestin (Altrenogest)

Adrienne E. Crosier, Pierre Comizzoli, Diana C. Koester and David E. Wildt
 

We found that cheetahs do not display typical estrous cycles, but rather frequent waves of estrogenic activity every 7 to 10 days. For effective ovulation induction and the most mature oocytes, gonadotropin treatments had to be given at least 3 days after an estrogen peak. Follicular activity can be suppressed by progestin supplementation, thereby providing a way to quiesce the ovary beforehand.

Published online 01 August 2016

RD15463Beneficial effects of diazepin-quinazolin-amine derivative (BIX-01294) on preimplantation development and molecular characteristics of cloned mouse embryos

Yanfang Huang, Xiaohong Jiang, Miao Yu, Rongfu Huang, Jianfeng Yao, Ming Li, Fangfang Zheng and Xiaoyu Yang
 

Somatic cell nuclear transfer is frequently associated with abnormal epigenetic modifications. The present study investigated the effects of BIX-01294 on cloned mouse preimplantation embryos and the results indicated that BIX-01294 treatment of cloned embryos has beneficial effects in terms of correcting abnormal epigenetic modifications. It will be investigated further whether BIX may affect postimplantation development by correcting epigenetic modifications.


Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) may be the molecular link between maternal obesity and the quality of early embryos. This study revealed that MIF expression in the oviduct, where mammalian embryos spend their first 3 days, is higher during the postovulatory phase than during oestrus and the luteal phase in heifers. Therefore, oviduct MIF may be essential for producing good-quality embryos.


The aim of this study was to explore the mechanism of action of stathmin 1 (Stmn1), a protein identified by two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) and mass spectrometry (MS) in a previous proteomic analysis, in regulating embryo implantation, a critical process in pregnancy. Stmn1 was found to play a role in decidualisation and embryo implantation by inhibiting the expression of phosphorylated Akt, hypoxia-inducible factor-1α and vascular endothelial growth factor. These findings contribute to a better understanding of the potential role of Stmn1 during embryo implantation.

Published online 26 July 2016

RD16091Role of the Na+/K+-ATPase ion pump in male reproduction and embryo development

D. R. Câmara, J. P. Kastelic and J. C. Thundathil
 

This review describes the involvement of the sodium pump Na+/K+-ATPase in various aspects of animal reproduction, including critical roles in embryonic development and specific sperm functions. In addition to regulating ion concentrations, Na+/K+-ATPase participates in several cell signalling pathways. Understanding the role of this molecule creates new opportunities to enhance or suppress various aspects of reproductive biology.

Published online 21 July 2016

RD16031Methylated oligonucleotide (MON)-induced promoter hypermethylation is associated with repression of CDH1 expression and contributes to the migration and invasion of human trophoblast cell lines

Xi Lan, Li-Juan Fu, Zhuo-Ying Hu, Qian Feng, Xue-Qing Liu, Xue Zhang, Xue-Mei Chen, Jun-Lin He, Ying-Xiong Wang and Yu-Bin Ding
 

Aberrant DNA methylation has been linked to deficiencies in trophoblast motility and invasion in pregnancy complications. We increased trophoblast cell motility and invasiveness through inducing site-specific hypermethylation and repressing gene expression of CDH1 by sense-methylated oligonucleotides (MONs). The results indicate that MON-mediated DNA methylation on the CDH1 promoter may alter gene expression and contribute to trophoblast motility and invasion.

Published online 04 July 2016

RD16086In vitro characterisation of fresh and frozen sex-sorted bull spermatozoa

Shauna A. Holden, Craig Murphy, Juan F. Moreno, Stephen T. Butler, Andrew R. Cromie, Patrick Lonergan and Sean Fair
 

The use of sex-sorted fresh spermatozoa has the potential to yield higher pregnancy rates than sex-sorted frozen spermatozoa. This study sought to characterise the in vitro quality of X and Y sex-sorted bull spermatozoa and identified the need for tailored diluents for fresh sex-sorted spermatozoa to avoid head-to-head agglutination. The use of fresh sex-sorted spermatozoa, when managed correctly, has enormous potential in the dairy industry.

Published online 01 July 2016

RD16225Thiols of flagellar proteins are essential for progressive motility in human spermatozoa

María Eugenia Cabrillana, María de los Ángeles Monclus, Tania Estefania Sáez Lancellotti, Paola Vanina Boarelli, Amanda Edith Vincenti, Miguel Matias Fornés, Eduardo Alfredo Sanabria and Miguel Walter Fornés
 

This work demonstrates that it is necessary for progressive sperm motility that flagellar proteins, like ODF1, maintain reduced cysteines after epididymal transit. To determine how oxidative changes in flagellar proteins affect sperm motility, a sulfhydryl blocker was used; sperm progressive motility was abolished without affecting the level of ATP. Incomplete oxidation in flagellar proteins of asthenozoospermic samples was also observed. Inadequate maturation or an unbalanced thiol status leads to non-progressive motility.

Published online 27 June 2016

RD16104GRIM-19, a gene associated with retinoid-interferon-induced mortality, affects endometrial receptivity and embryo implantation

Yang Yang, Yanyan Sun, Laiyang Cheng, Anna Li, Yanjun Shen, Ligang Jiang, Xiaohui Deng and Lan Chao
 

We present a new hypothesis of the molecular mechanisms responsible for implantation, which could provide an important basis for further understanding of embryo implantation. Our study shows that spontaneous elimination of GRIM-19 is required for endometrial receptivity and the embryo implantation process. Our results demonstrate the involvement of GRIM-19 in the embryo implantation process by regulating adhesion, apoptosis and immune tolerance.

Published online 22 June 2016

RD15404Reproductive competency and mitochondrial variation in aged Syrian hamster oocytes

Fang Li, Frank J. Castora, Wentia Ford, Khalid Alarid, Howard W. Jones and R. James Swanson
 

Using a hamster model, we found significant changes in mitochondrial number, structure and function as well as fecundity, ova production and follicular number in aged compared to younger animals. Old hamsters had decreased fertility rates, smaller litters, and decreased numbers of preantral follicles and MII oocytes. In addition, old ova contained large areas of collapsed, non-luminal cytoplasmic lamellae. Finally, old hamster ova contained higher levels of reactive oxygen species, lower mitochondrial membrane potential and decreased mitochondrial numbers, all of which could be contributing to the age-related decline in mammalian fertility rates.

Published online 22 June 2016

RD16022Subfertility in androgen-insensitive female mice is rescued by transgenic FSH

K. A. Walters, M. C. Edwards, M. Jimenez, D. J. Handelsman and C. M. Allan
 

Androgens (male steroids) interact with the key regulator of female reproduction, FSH, but the nature of their interaction is not clear. Examination of mutant androgen-insensitive mice with and without the expression of human transgenic FSH (Tg-FSH) revealed that subfertility in androgen-insensitive mice is rescued by the presence of Tg-FSH. These findings demonstrate that androgens and FSH actions interact in a synergistic manner to maintain optimal female fertility.

Published online 20 June 2016

RD16061Putrescine supplementation during in vitro maturation of aged mouse oocytes improves the quality of blastocysts

Dandan Liu, Guolong Mo, Yong Tao, Hongmei Wang and X. Johné Liu
 

Poor egg quality underlies reproductive aging in mice and in women. Oocyte maturation is a critical stage in determining the quality of eggs and hence embryonic potential. We demonstrated that putrescine supplementation during in vitro maturation of aged mouse oocytes resulted in healthier embryos. Peri-ovulatory putrescine supplementation may be an effective therapy in reproductive aging.


Stem cell factor (SCF) and epidermal growth factor (EGF) play key roles in ovarian folliculogenesis. Herein we report that SCF promotes cat follicle growth by upregulating c-kit mRNA expression and AKT phosphorylation. EGF suppresses the stimulating effect of SCF, leading to a downregulation of FSH receptor mRNA expression. The ability to grow premature follicles in vitro could become a pivotal tool for preserving fertility in animal disease models and endangered felids.

Published online 09 June 2016

RD15391Iloprost supports early development of in vitro-produced porcine embryos through activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/AKT signalling pathway

Pil-Soo Jeong, Seung-Bin Yoon, Seon-A Choi, Bong-Seok Song, Ji-Su Kim, Bo-Woong Sim, Young-Ho Park, Hae-Jun Yang, Seong-Eun Mun, Young-Hyun Kim, Philyong Kang, Kang-Jin Jeong, Youngjeon Lee, Yeung Bae Jin, Jae-Won Huh, Sang-Rae Lee, Deog-Bon Koo, Young Il Park, Sun-Uk Kim and Kyu-Tae Chang
 

Despite evidence of the presence of PGI2 in mammalian oviducts, its role in development of early embryos is largely unknown. We revealed that supplementation of PGI2 analog enhanced early development of IVP porcine embryos through activation of AKT cascade. These results indicate that iloprost can be a useful IVC supplement for production of IVP early porcine embryos with high quality.

Published online 06 June 2016

RD15475High glucose levels affect spermatogenesis: an in vitro approach

Renata S. Tavares, Joana M. D. Portela, Maria I. Sousa, Paula C. Mota, João Ramalho-Santos and Sandra Amaral
 

Diabetes mellitus (DM) has been associated with male reproductive impairment but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood owing to the diversity of factors involved in the disease. In this study we focused on the in vitro effects of high glucose levels, the primary recognised signature of DM, on spermatogenesis. We found that while mouse testicular luminal area was decreased, Sertoli cell number was increased. These findings suggest an impairment of Sertoli cell function in high-glucose conditions that may impact spermatogenesis.

Published online 02 June 2016

RD16098Sex of co-twin affects the in vitro developmental competence of oocytes derived from 6- to 8-week-old lambs

Jennifer M. Kelly, David O. Kleemann, Hayley McGrice, Jose A. Len, Karen L. Kind, Will H. E. J. van Wettere and Simon K. Walker
 

The effect of birth type (single, twin, triplet) and co-twin sex on in vitro developmental competence of oocytes from 6 to 8-week old lambs significantly increased blastocyst development rates for lambs born with a female co-twin compared with a male co-twin. This indicates a female co-twin enhancement effect on oocyte development. Selection of lambs for embryo production programs based on co-twin sex is warranted.

Published online 01 June 2016

RD16145Role of Ca2+ in the IVM of spermatozoa from the sterlet Acipenser ruthenus

Olga Bondarenko, Borys Dzyuba, Marek Rodina and Jacky Cosson
 

Spermatozoa maturation is a necessary step for the best success in artificial reproduction. This study focused on the role of calcium ions in the acquisition of testicular sturgeon sperm to be able to swim: our results show that an influx of Ca2+ ions is required for finalisation of this maturation process.

Published online 31 May 2016

RD15309Maternal food restriction in rats of the F0 generation increases retroperitoneal fat, the number and size of adipocytes and induces periventricular astrogliosis in female F1 and male F2 generations

A. O. Joaquim, C. P. Coelho, P. Dias Motta, L. F. Felício, E. F. Bondan, E. Teodorov, M. F. M. Martins, T. B. Kirsten, L. V. Bonamin and M. M. Bernardi
 

Transgenerational food restriction and overweightAdverse environmental factors during gestation, such as under- or overnutrition, may predispose individuals to certain diseases later in life by altering their fetal programming. The present study investigated whether prenatal 40% food restriction was able to induce weight, metabolic and neuroimmune disturbances in the next two generations, even if they were normally fed. We showed a transgenerational transmission effect for overweight over two generations, associated with changes in immune and inflammatory patterns, revealing the severe impact of undernutrition over generations.


Mammalian males do not produce equal numbers of X- and Y-chromosome-bearing sperm, but factors influencing the variation are unknown. We show that sperm sex ratios and ejaculate traits vary with mating rate in laboratory mice, and hypothesise that males that mate frequently are usually more attractive, and would be advantaged by producing sons that inherit their attractiveness.

Published online 26 May 2016

RD15520Temporary undernutrition during early gestation, corpora lutea morphometrics, ovarian progesterone secretion and embryo survival in gilts

P. Langendijk, E. G. Bouwman, T. Y. Chen, R. E. Koopmanschap and N. M. Soede
 

This study looked at how off-feed incidents or competition for feed can affect hormonal regulation of luteal function and early pregnancy in pigs. We found no effect of a day’s fasting on LH secretion, but progesterone secretion was reduced and fewer piglets were born at subsequent farrowing. Malnutrition in group-housed sows or in periods of hot weather can potentially reduce ovarian progesterone output and fertility.

Published online 26 May 2016

RD15357Non-genomic action of vitamin D3 on N-methyl-D-aspartate and kainate receptor-mediated actions in juvenile gonadotrophin-releasing hormone neurons

Pravin Bhattarai, Janardhan P. Bhattarai, Min Sun Kim and Seong Kyu Han
 

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to impaired pubertal development affecting reproductive physiology. The effects of vitamin D3 were investigated on the juvenile gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neuron, a central regulator of the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis. Exposure to vitamin D3 suppressed the N-methyl-D-aspartate and kainate-mediated responses of juvenile GnRH neurons. We suggest that vitamin D is essential for normal and timely functioning of pubertal development.

Published online 25 May 2016

RD16077Aquaglyceroporins 3 and 7 in bull spermatozoa: identification, localisation and their relationship with sperm cryotolerance

Noelia Prieto-Martínez, Roser Morató, Rodrigo Muiño, Carlos O. Hidalgo, Joan E. Rodríguez-Gil, Sergi Bonet and Marc Yeste
 

For the first time the presence and localisation of AQP3 and AQP7 in bull spermatozoa was determined, together with their relationship to sperm cryotolerance. Our findings show that neither the relative amounts nor the localisation of these proteins was altered by cryopreservation procedures. Furthermore, the abundance of AQP7 in fresh semen was found to predict bull sperm cryotolerance.

Published online 25 May 2016

RD15414Membrane lipid profile of in vitro-produced embryos is affected by vitrification but not by long-term dietary supplementation of polyunsaturated fatty acids for oocyte donor beef heifers

Beatriz C. S. Leão, Nathália A. S. Rocha-Frigoni, Ériklis Nogueira, Elaine C. Cabral, Christina R. Ferreira, Marcos N. Eberlin, Mônica F. Accorsi, Thiago V. Neves and Gisele Z. Mingoti
 

In this study we evaluated the effect of feeding oocyte donor beef heifers with a protected fat enriched in linoleic acid on embryonic developmental rates after IVF, embryo cryotolerance and the membrane lipid composition of fresh and vitrified–warmed embryos. Although embryo yield, cryotolerance and membrane lipid profile were unaffected by dietary supplementation, the membrane lipid profile was affected by the cryopreservation process. Because the lipid ion abundances of fresh and vitrified–warmed embryos were distinct, they can be used as potential markers of post-cryopreservation embryonic survival.

Published online 23 May 2016

RD15330The effects of sildenafil citrate on feto–placental development and haemodynamics in a rabbit model of intrauterine growth restriction

Jorge López-Tello, María Arias-Álvarez, Maria-Ángeles Jiménez-Martínez, Alicia Barbero-Fernández, Rosa María García-García, María Rodríguez, Pedro L. Lorenzo, Laura Torres-Rovira, Susana Astiz, Antonio González-Bulnes and Pilar G. Rebollar
 

Current treatments for intrauterine growth restriction are not particularly effective. Sildenafil citrate (SC), a vasodilator and angiogenic molecule, could be an option to enhance conceptus growth. Here we studied, in a rabbit model, whether the administration of SC could improve or ameliorate diet-induced defects in conceptus development and offspring outcome. SC seems to benefit pregnancies complicated by placental insufficiency; however, further research is needed.

Published online 23 May 2016

RD15483Variation among individual bulls in the distribution of acrosomal tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins in epididymal and ejaculated spermatozoa

Miyuki M. Arai, Kenta Minami, Yukari Ogura, Nagisa Otsuka, Shohei Hama, Hiroshi Harayama, Mitsuhiro Sakase and Moriyuki Fukushima
 

A valid biomarker for sperm molecular characterisation was found in Japanese black cattle. The distribution of acrosomal tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins largely differs among individual bulls. The grades of acrosomal freezability and results of AI with cryopreserved spermatozoa can be predicted by assessing the distribution of acrosomal tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins in spermatozoa before cryopreservation.

Published online 17 May 2016

RD15538Expressions of lipoprotein receptors and cholesterol efflux regulatory proteins during luteolysis in bovine corpus luteum

Kei Horihata, Shin Yoshioka, Masahiro Sano, Yuki Yamamoto, Koji Kimura, Dariusz J. Skarzynski and Kiyoshi Okuda
 

Progesterone, which is essential for pregnancy in mammals, is synthesised from cholesterol in the corpus luteum (CL). We investigated the involvement of cholesterol uptake receptors and efflux transporters in bovine CL regression (luteolysis), and found that the expression of scavenger receptor B1, a cholesterol uptake receptor, decreased during luteolysis. The decline in cholesterol uptake may reduce progesterone production in the CL during luteolysis.

Published online 17 May 2016

RD16090The effects in vitro of TNF-α and its antagonist ‘etanercept’ on ejaculated human sperm

Nicola A. Pascarelli, Antonella Fioravanti, Elena Moretti, Giacomo M. Guidelli, Lucia Mazzi and Giulia Collodel
 

The effect of cytokines on human male fertility is attracting more attention. In this in vitro study, the effects of TNF-α and its antagonist, etanercept, in ejaculated human spermatozoa were analysed. The negative influence of TNF-α on sperm function and the positive action of etanercept were demonstrated. This data may have clinical relevance for the management of chronic inflammatory diseases related to male reproduction.

Published online 17 May 2016

RD15385Effects of fetal genotype and sex on developmental response to maternal malnutrition

Laura Cogollos, Consolacion Garcia-Contreras, Marta Vazquez-Gomez, Susana Astiz, Raul Sanchez-Sanchez, Ernesto Gomez-Fidalgo, Cristina Ovilo, Beatriz Isabel and Antonio Gonzalez-Bulnes
 

The occurrence of intrauterine growth restriction is linked to a plethora of non-communicable disorders during postnatal life. Our study, using a translational swine model, provides evidence that prenatal developmental is strongly modulated by fetal genotype and sex. Such findings stress the necessity for considering ethnicity and sex effects in the study of the developmental origins of adult health and disease.


The reproductive tract secretes molecules collectively known as embryokines that regulate embryonic growth and development. In this study we tested four growth factors expressed in the endometrium for actions on the bovine preimplantation embryo. All four molecules affected embryonic development or gene expression and may therefore function in the endometrium as embryokines.


High temperatures are correlated with reduced fertility. Ovarian function in pseudopregnant rats was determined in a laboratory setting of repeated heat stress. Heat stress altered the activity of mitogen-activated protein kinases and the expression of heat shock protein 70 and activating transcription factor 3 in the corpus luteum. A deeper understanding of the effects of heat stress on ovarian function will enable better approaches to promote female fecundity and sustainable animal production.

Published online 11 May 2016

RD15209Roles of interferon-stimulated gene 15 protein in bovine embryo development

Shuan Zhao, Yi Wu, Hui Gao, Alexander Evans and Shen-Ming Zeng
 

ISG15 mRNA exists in bovine embryo from one cell stage, which is earlier than IFNT mRNA. When the expression of ISG15 was knockdown, the development of blastocyst was negatively affected, , and the expressions of Ets2, IFNT and connexion 43 were inhibited in bovine blastocysts.

Published online 11 May 2016

RD16026p21-activated kinase 1 activity is required for histone H3 Ser10 phosphorylation and chromatin condensation in mouse oocyte meiosis

Nana Zhang, Xiuhong Li, Xiaoyun Liu, Yan Cao, Dandan Chen, Xiaoyu Liu, Qian Wang, Juan Du, Jing Weng and Wei Ma
 

Histone H3 phosphorylation is essential for chromatin condensation, which is a prerequisite for accurate chromosome separation in mitosis or meiosis. The present study demonstrates that p21-activated kinase 1 (Pak1) activity is required for histone H3 phosphorylation and consequent chromatin condensation in mouse oocytes upon the resumption of meiotic progression.


Feasibility of luteal phase ovarian stimulation has already be certified in poor ovarian responders. Embryos produced during the luteal phase resulted in higher implantation rates compared with those produced during the follicular phase. Luteal phase ovarian stimulation should be recommended for poor ovarian responders.

Published online 11 May 2016

RD15517Perinatal exposure to insecticide fipronil: effects on the reproductive system in male rats

Aline L. de Barros, Julie H. Bae, Cibele S. Borges, Josiane L. Rosa, Marilia M. Cavariani, Patrícia V. Silva, Patricia F. F. Pinheiro, Janete A. Anselmo-Franci and Arielle C. Arena
 

Fipronil, an insecticide widely used in agriculture, veterinary medicine and public health, has been listed as a potential endocrine disrupter. The present study showed that fipronil can affect the sperm motility and compromise sperm quality of the animals. The perinatal exposure to fipronil has long-term effects on sperm parameters, and the epididymis can be a target organ.


Progesterone is a steroid present in the female reproductive tract that aids sperm motility. In the present study we identified human sperm proteins that are modified in response to progesterone and propose a mechanism by which progesterone would aid motility. This information may be useful for the development of drugs to improve sperm motility and contraceptives.

Published online 11 May 2016

RD15432Prominin-1 glycosylation changes throughout early pregnancy in uterine epithelial cells under the influence of maternal ovarian hormones

Samson N. Dowland, Romanthi J. Madawala, Connie E. Poon, Laura A. Lindsay and Christopher R. Murphy
 

The prominin-1 protein has previously been broadly investigated for its potential role in cancer and stem cell biology. This is the first investigation into the role of prominin-1 in early pregnancy. The study localises prominin-1 to the apical region of uterine epithelial cells and shows that maternal ovarian hormones significantly affect the glycosylation and abundance of this protein.

Published online 11 May 2016

RD15290Anti-Müllerian hormone reduces growth rate without altering follicular survival in isolated caprine preantral follicles cultured in vitro

R. M. P. Rocha, L. F. Lima, I. R. Brito, G. M. Silva, H. H. V. Correia, N. A. Ribeiro de Sá, A. C. A. Ferreira, A. D. Sales, C. H. Lobo, C. C. Campello, J. Smitz, M. B. Wheeler and J. R. Figueiredo
 

Investigations into the relationship between FSH and anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) during in vitro culture of isolated preantral follicles are lacking. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of AMH, with and without FSH, on the in vitro development of isolated caprine follicles. We demonstrated that AMH reduces follicular growth without altering follicular survival. Thus, AMH may play an important role in regulating the growth of caprine preantral follicles.


A unique approach to managing coyote (Canis latrans) depredation is the development of a one-time deliverable chemical sterilant. We hypothesised that exposure to a high dose of a gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist would cause prolonged suppression of the reproductive axis. The results of the present study suggest that a plasma concentration of 100 pg mL–1 deslorelin must be maintained and that elevations beyond this threshold are likely to be unimportant.


Sperm freezing has advanced animal breeding and genetics in numerous species but is not successful in alpacas due to the gel-like nature of the semen. This research aimed to reduce the viscosity of alpaca semen without affecting sperm function. The enzyme papain (0.1 mg mL–1 for 20 min at 37°C) followed by the papain inhibitor E-64 (10 µm for 5min at 37°C) eliminated viscosity and aided cryopreservation of alpaca spermatozoa. These findings will help to advance the use of reproductive technologies in camelids.


Preventing spontaneous preterm birth, which is the leading cause of perinatal mortality and morbidity, is one of the most important issues facing perinatal medicine today. In this study, we found that spontaneous labour is associated with an increase in optineurin (OPTN) expression in fetal membranes and the myometrium, where it functions as a negative regulator of prolabour mediators. Elucidating the role of OPTN in labour processes enhances our understanding of the mechanisms that drive preterm birth and could perhaps lead to the development of a clinical therapeutic strategy.

Published online 28 April 2016

RD15481Proteome of equine oviducal fluid: effects of ovulation and pregnancy

Katrien Smits, Hilde Nelis, Katleen Van Steendam, Jan Govaere, Kim Roels, Cyrillus Ververs, Bart Leemans, Eline Wydooghe, Dieter Deforce and Ann Van Soom
 

Early development of the equine embryo occurs in the oviduct, and information on the composition of this oviducal environment is very valuable. We identified the proteins in the oviducal fluid of the horse, and proteins that are important for pregnancy were found in higher amounts when an equine embryo was present. These findings provide a solid basis for further studies on embryo–maternal interactions in the horse.

Published online 26 April 2016

RD15474Sperm function during incubation with oestrus oviductal fluid differs in bulls with different fertility

A. Kumaresan, A. Johannisson and A.-S. Bergqvist
 

Prediction of breeding bull fertility is of major economic value to the cattle-breeding industry. We proved that spermatozoa from high-fertile bulls showed a low degree of tyrosine phosphorylation and high degree of capacitation and acrosome reaction upon exposure to oviductal fluid. These findings may help in developing tools for assessing fertility of bulls, once validated in more animals.


Because carnitine treatment is used in many cases of male infertility, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the mechanism by which carnitine improves spermatogenesis in mice. In the study, carnitine treatment of mice stimulated peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α expression, which, in turn, regulated steroidogenesis by enhancing expression of Bcl2 and antioxidant enzymes in the testis.

Published online 11 April 2016

RD15361Oestrogenic action of neonatal tamoxifen on the hypothalamus and reproductive system in female mice

Rahmatollah Parandin, Morteza Behnam-Rassouli and Nasser Mahdavi-Shahri
 

Tamoxifen is widely used in the treatment of breast cancer and can interfere with the reproductive system. The present study showed that tamoxifen administration during the neonatal period has oestrogenic actions on oestrogen-sensitive nuclei in the brain controlling the reproductive axis in female mice. Therefore, tamoxifen may have adverse effects on brain differentiation and reproductive function.

Published online 06 April 2016

RD15214Prion protein 2 (dublet) gene (PRND): role in ovine semen capacitation, cryopreservation and fertility

L. M. Ferreira, M. Garcia-Herreros, A. Domingos, C. C. Marques, P. Mesquita, J. P. Barbas, M. C. Baptista, J. Pimenta, A. E. M. Horta, J. A. M. Prates and R. M. L. N. Pereira
 

The physiological functions of prion and prion-like proteins are overlapped by their pathological features, namely in the invariably fatal neurodegenerative diseases of both humans and animals, such as Kuru, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and new variant, bovine spongiform encephalopathy and sheep scrapie. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of the prion-like Doppel (PRND) protein and different PRND genotypes in the sperm capacitation process, cryoresistance, and fertility potential. Both factors were crucial for sperm capacitation potential, cryoresistance, and embryo production. Thus, an important physiological function of Doppel protein and genotype in male fertility has been demonstrated.

Published online 06 April 2016

RD15485Short- and long-term outcomes of the absence of protein during bovine blastocyst formation in vitro

A. Murillo-Ríos, V. Maillo, M. Muñoz, A. Gutiérrez-Adán, S. Carrocera, D. Martín-González, A. Fernandez-Buznego and E. Gómez
 

Removal of protein from culture medium improves analytical reliability, although bovine embryo development in vitro could be affected. However, protein removal over a 24-h period in culture led to embryos with reduced miscarriage rates without affecting birthweight, gestation length or calf morphology. This finding represents direct access to culture medium as a substrate for non-invasive analysis, leading to potential biomarker discovery without compromising embryonic viability.

Published online 06 April 2016

RD15440Effect of Single Layer Centrifugation on reactive oxygen species and sperm mitochondrial membrane potential in cooled stallion semen

J. M. Morrell, A. Lagerqvist, P. Humblot and A. Johannisson
 

Stallion spermatozoa lose viability and fertilising capability relatively quickly when cooled; robust spermatozoa can be selected by colloid centrifugation. In the present study, selected spermatozoa were shown to metabolise differently to controls, producing less hydrogen peroxide, which is known to damage spermatozoa. These results indicate that colloid centrifugation could be used to improve the quality of stallion semen for AI.

Published online 09 March 2016

RD15215Morphometric developmental pattern of bovine handmade cloned concepti in late pregnancy

R. P. C. Gerger, F. C. Zago, E. S. Ribeiro, S. Gaudencio Neto, L. T. Martins, L. H. Aguiar, V. H. V. Rodrigues, F. H. Furlan, I. Ortigari, R. D. Sainz, C. L. Ferrell, M. A. Miglino, C. E. Ambrósio, J. L. Rodrigues, R. Rossetto, F. Forell, L. R. Bertolini and M. Bertolini
 

Cloned concepti on Day 225 of gestation were characterised by lower pregnancy rates, high gestational losses, a distinctive biphasic growth pattern, with early growth restriction followed by accelerated growth and foetal weight on Day 225, and significant morphological changes in placental mass and shape when compared with in vivo-derived pregnancies. Conversely, Day-225 IVF-derived concepti were widely similar to controls.

Published online 09 March 2016

RD15409Local effect of lysophosphatidic acid on prostaglandin production in the bovine oviduct

Yuka Yoshimoto, Yoshihiko Kobayashi, Izabela Woclawek-Potocka, Emilia Sinderewicz, Yuki Yamamoto, Koji Kimura and Kiyoshi Okuda
 

Prostaglandins induce contraction and relaxation of oviductal smooth muscle, which are essential for transport of gametes and embryo. The present results demonstrate that lysophosphatidic acid significantly stimulated prostaglandin production by cultured isthmic stromal cells. It is suggested that locally produced lysophosphatidic acid contributes to oviductal motility in the isthmus by regulating prostaglandin production in cows.

Published online 09 March 2016

RD15306Increased frequency of chromosome congression defects and aneuploidy in mouse oocytes cultured at lower temperature

Jitka Danadova, Natalie Matijescukova, Anna Mac Gillavry Danylevska and Martin Anger
 

In vitro manipulation of oocytes is a standard procedure used in assisted reproduction. The aim of the present study was to analyse the effect of suboptimal culture temperatures on various aspects of meiotic division, including chromosomal congression and segregation defects. The results revealed that even a small deviation from optimal culture temperature has a marked effect on chromosome congression and aneuploidy.

Published online 09 March 2016

RD15424Lower dietary n-6:n-3 ratio and high-dose vitamin E supplementation improve sperm morphology and oxidative stress in boars

Qing Liu, Yuanfei Zhou, Runjia Duan, Hongkui Wei, Siwen Jiang and Jian Peng
 

Dietary PUFA and vitamin E are known to influence sperm morphology and oxidative stress. The effects of dietary n-6 : n-3 and vitamin E on the sperm morphology and oxidative stress in boars were investigated. An n-6 : n-3 ratio of 6 :1 and 400 mg kg–1 vitamin E have beneficial effects on sperm morphology by improving oxidative stress.


The uterus produces steroids and primary steroidogenic enzymes are expressed in the uterus of pregnant and cyclic pigs. In this study we examined 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase expression and the effects of LH, FSH and prolactin on oestrone and 17β-oestradiol release in vitro in endometrial explants. We show that LH, FSH and prolactin may regulate oestrogen release by the endometrium.


The hormone oestrogen is essential for testis development and its synthesis is dependent on the enzyme aromatase. However, the molecular mechanism of aromatase regulation is still poorly understood. This study describes for the first time the cellular localisation of proteins important for aromatase regulation, which are well known in breast tissue, in the normal testis. This new finding may help develop new therapies for oestrogen-mediated infertility.


We are in need of safe, effective and affordable male contraceptives. Indazole carboxylic acids such as lonidamine and adjudin disrupt adhesion between Sertoli and germ cells in the rat testis, resulting in infertility. One of the key findings of this study was that lonidamine-ethyl ester also displayed contraceptive effects. Additional studies are required to determine whether indazole carboxylic acids can enter the clinical pipeline

Published online 02 March 2016

RD15435Serial transvaginal ultrasound-guided biopsy of the porcine corpus luteum in vivo

S. Björkman, J. Yun, M. Niku, C. Oliviero, N. M. Soede and O. A. T. Peltoniemi
 

For the first time, a minimal invasive method that allows ovarian tissue collection from sows is described in detail. This method, a transvaginal ultrasound-guided biopsy, is quick, can be performed by one person, and has no major effects on the sow’s reproductive performance. It can be applied on the farm to study effects of housing or nutrition on luteal function.

Published online 29 February 2016

RD15315Insulin exposure during in vitro bovine oocyte maturation changes blastocyst gene expression and developmental potential

Denise Laskowski, Ylva Sjunnesson, Patrice Humblot, Marc-André Sirard, Göran Andersson, Hans Gustafsson and Renée Båge
 

Metabolic imbalance impairs female fertility. We wanted to find out how metabolism affects bovine oocyte quality, and demonstrated that insulin exposure during in vitro oocyte maturation affects embryo development, morphology and gene expression. Even short-term exposure to a metabolic imbalance has lasting effects on embryo development, and this metabolic programming may have consequences later in life.

Published online 29 February 2016

RD15425Greater sperm complexity in the Australasian old endemic rodents (Tribe: Hydromyini) is associated with increased levels of inter-male sperm competition

Hanna J. McLennan, Stefan Lüpold, Pete Smissen, Kevin C. Rowe and William G. Breed
 

Most species of Australasian old endemic rodents have a highly complex sperm head morphology that contains an apical hook together with two ventral processes of variable length and orientation. This study tested whether this variation is a sexually selected trait using relative testes mass as a proxy for the intensity of inter-male sperm competition and controlling for phylogeny. The angle of these processes, but not length, was positively correlated with relative testes mass; its possible functional significance is briefly discussed.

Published online 24 February 2016

RD15289Effect of spermatozoa motility hyperactivation factors and gamete coincubation duration on in vitro bovine embryo development using flow cytometrically sorted spermatozoa

Luis B. Ferré, Yanina Bogliotti, James L. Chitwood, Cristóbal Fresno, Hugo H. Ortega, Michael E. Kjelland and Pablo J. Ross
 

This study evaluated the effects of sperm motility enhancers, media and different IVF times on embryo development. The sperm motility enhancers caffeine and theophylline improved cleavage and embryo development rates, synthetic oviducal fluid fertilisation medium outperformed M199 fertilisation medium and shortening the oocyte–sperm coincubation time (from 18 to 8 h) resulted in similar overall embryo performance rates. This study provides important information for optimising IVF protocols.

Published online 24 February 2016

RD15319Fateful triad of reactive oxygen species, mitochondrial dysfunction and lipid accumulation is associated with expression outline of the AMP-activated protein kinase pathway in bovine blastocysts

S. Prastowo, A. Amin, F. Rings, E. Held, D. Salilew Wondim, A. Gad, C. Neuhoff, E. Tholen, C. Looft, K. Schellander, D. Tesfaye and M. Hoelker
 

In vitro-derived bovine embryos frequently exhibit lipid accumulation, mitochondrial dysfunction and enhanced levels of reactive oxygen species. With the aim of unravelling the role of the AMP-activated protein kinase cytalytic subunit 1alpha (AMPKα), the present study identified AMPKα activity and distinct expression patterns of AMPKα-related genes to be correlated with that phenotype. These results prove the important role of AMPKα in embryonic energy metabolism.

Published online 24 February 2016

RD15367Growth arrest specific 1 (Gas1) and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor receptor ?1 (Gfr?1), two mouse oocyte glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins, are involved in fertilisation

M. Agopiantz, L. Xandre-Rodriguez, B. Jin, G. Urbistondoy, C. Ialy-Radio, M. Chalbi, J.-P. Wolf, A. Ziyyat and B. Lefèvre
 

In addition to oocyte Cd9 tetraspanin, Juno, a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GIP)-anchored protein, has recently been discovered to be essential to mammalian fertilisation, as a sperm receptor for Izumo1. The present study demonstrates the involvement of another two other oocyte GPI-anchored proteins, namely growth arrest specific 1 (Gas1) and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor receptor α1 (Gfrα1), in fertilisation. The results reinforce the implication of several molecules forming probably complexes.

Published online 15 February 2016

RD15321Detection of cross-sex chimerism in the common marmoset monkey (Callithrix jacchus) in interphase cells using fluorescence in situ hybridisation probes specific for the marmoset X and Y chromosomes

E. Wedi, S. Müller, M. Neusser, P. H. Vogt, O. Y. Tkachenko, J. Zimmer, D. Smeets, H. W. Michelmann and P. L. Nayudu
 

Bone marrow chimerism is a unique and normal feature of Callithrichidae development that originates through shared placental circulation. A new X and Y chromosome-specific fluorescent in situ hybridisation protocol for Callithrix jacchus has been developed and validated to detect and investigate chimerism between male and female littermates. One of the strengths of this method is that it is useful in interphase cells, and allows cell morphology to remain intact to facilitate identification of cell type.


Obesity, a global problem, adversely affects human health including reproduction. This study investigated whether exposure to an obesogenic environment during prenatal and postnatal periods affects the initiation and progress of spermatogenesis in rats. It is evident that an obese condition decreases counts of spermatids and spermatozoa and serum levels of testosterone and increases the proportion of abnormal spermatozoa, which might reduce reproductive potential.

Published online 15 February 2016

RD15358Dietary-induced gestational iron deficiency inhibits postnatal tissue iron delivery and postpones the cessation of active nephrogenesis in rats

Mary Y. Sun, Joseph C. Woolley, Sharon E. Blohowiak, Zachary R. Smith, Ashajyothi M. Siddappa, Ronald R. Magness and Pamela J. Kling
 

Gestational iron deficiency can cause developmental programming of adult hypertension, but the critical developmental window during nephrogenesis has not been studied. The present study examined renal development during perinatal iron deficiency in rats and found altered timing of kidney maturation and histological renal adaptations that may contribute to dysfunctional glomeruli and renal hyperfiltration, which themselves contribute to hypertension.

Published online 11 February 2016

RD15282MicroRNA indicators of follicular steroidogenesis

F. X. Donadeu, S. D. Sontakke and J. Ioannidis
 

Finding novel biomarkers of ovarian follicle function would be of benefit. This study investigated the follicle biomarker potential of microRNAs (miRNAs) and found that levels of miR-873 and miR-202 can be used as indicators of steroidogenic capacity in cattle. These miRNAs, in addition or alternatively to commonly used steroid level measurements, could be used to accurately classify follicles based on steroidogenic capacity.

Published online 05 February 2016

RD15402Preantral follicle density in ovarian biopsy fragments and effects of mare age

K. A. Alves, B. G. Alves, G. D. A. Gastal, K. T. Haag, M. O. Gastal, J. R. Figueiredo, M. L. Gambarini and E. L. Gastal
 

Information about follicle density is critical to determine the quantity of fragments during biopsy procedures in women and domestic animals. This study evaluated the effects of age and determined the minimum number of ovarian fragments and histological sections required to estimate equine follicle density in ovarian biopsy fragments. The results show that follicle density is negatively influenced by increasing age and, independent of follicle heterogeneity, three to four ovarian fragments combined with 65 histological sections are required to accurately determine follicle density in equine ovarian tissue.


Glucocorticoids (GCs) sustain life and the development of human embryo; however, fetoplacental exposure to high maternal GC levels may lead to placental and fetal abnormalities, with the adverse consequences of GC excess manifested later in life. The mechanisms through which GC excess alters placental and fetal development are yet to be identified; however, changes in placental GR levels and subcellular localization and ratios may modify placental function, in utero growth of the fetus and lifelong health.

Published online 02 February 2016

RD15228Age-associated deterioration in follicular fluid induces a decline in bovine oocyte quality

Shun Takeo, Koji Kimura, Koumei Shirasuna, Takehito Kuwayama and Hisataka Iwata
 

The average age for a primipara has been increased and maternal age affects the quality of oocytes. The present study addressed whether age-associated deterioration of oocytes stems from the oocyte itself or the surrounding environment and found that follicular fluid plays a major role. On the basis of the results, given optimum conditions, oocytes derived from aged females could give rise to high-quality oocytes.

Published online 14 January 2016

RD15334Effects of prepartum oilseed supplements on subclinical endometritis, pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine transcripts in endometrial cells and postpartum ovarian function in dairy cows

Reza Salehi, Marcos G. Colazo, Mohanathas Gobikrushanth, Urmila Basu and Divakar J. Ambrose
 

Dietary fats are known to influence immune cell function and fertility. The effects of pre-calving diets containing oilseeds (sunflower or canola vs. no oilseed) on uterine inflammation and ovarian function in dairy cows were investigated. Adding sunflower seed to pre-calving diets positively influenced ovarian function without affecting uterine inflammation, suggesting a role for omega-6 fatty acids in nutritional management of reproduction.

Published online 12 January 2016

RD15384Genome-wide analysis of sperm DNA methylation from monozygotic twin bulls

Habib A. Shojaei Saadi, Éric Fournier, Christian Vigneault, Patrick Blondin, Janice Bailey and Claude Robert
 

Monozygotic (MZ) twins are of great interest to elucidate the contributions of pre- and postnatal environmental factors on the expression of complex traits and diseases. In this study we investigated variations in sperm DNA methylation between MZ twin bulls to understand the observed differences in offspring productivity of MZ twin bulls despite their identical genetic backgrounds. Variation in sperm DNA methylation between MZ twin bulls was observed and may contribute to incongruous diverging performances of daughters sired by these bulls.

Published online 11 January 2016

RD15230Mammalian target of rapamycin/eukaryotic initiation factor 4F pathway regulates follicle growth and development of theca cells in mice

Chao Zhang, Xiao-Ran Liu, Yong-Chun Cao, Jin-Ling Tian, Di Zhen, Xiao-Fei Luo, Xin-Mei Wang, Jian-Hui Tian and Jian-Ming Gao
 

Follicular growth is mediated by gonadotropic hormones, growth factors and signalling pathways, such as the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling pathway. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the development of theca cells have rarely been studied. Herein we provide unbiased, detailed and convincing evidence (microarray, in vitro and in vivo studies) to demonstrate that mTOR/eukaryotic initiation factor 4F signalling plays an important role in follicular growth, particularly the development of thecal cells.

Published online 06 January 2016

RD15406LIM kinase activity is required for microtubule organising centre positioning in mouse oocyte meiosis

Xin Li, Yubo Zhu, Yan Cao, Qian Wang, Juan Du, Jianhui Tian, Yuanjing Liang and Wei Ma
 

In female meiosis, accurate chromosome separation is driven by the spindle apparatus, which is organised under the regulation of unique microtubule organising centres (MTOCs). LIM kinase 1 activity is required for the establishment and maintenance of MTOC bipolarity in mouse oocytes during meiotic division. The results of the present study provide an insight into the molecular mechanism governing bipolar spindle formation in oocytes during meiotic maturation.

Published online 04 January 2016

RD15243Active 3ʹ–5ʹ cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases are present in detergent-resistant membranes of mural granulosa cells

Annick Bergeron, Christine Guillemette, Marc-André Sirard and François J. Richard
 

Lipids rafts are specialised membrane microdomains involved in cell signalling and phosphodiesterases are key enzymes involved in cyclic AMP signalling in the ovary. We found that in mural granulosa cell membranes, the cyclic AMP–phosphodiesterase activity is mainly contributed by the rafts. These results suggest that in mural granulosa cells, lipid rafts exist as a cell-signalling platform.

Published online 18 December 2015

RD15164Aquaporins in boar spermatozoa. Part II: detection and localisation of aquaglyceroporin 3

Noelia Prieto-Martínez, Roser Morató, Ingrid Vilagran, Joan E. Rodríguez-Gil, Sergi Bonet and Marc Yeste
 

The aquaporin family plays a fundamental role in water and solute transport across biological membranes. The present work has studied, for the first time, the presence and localisation of aquaglyceroporin 3 in boar spermatozoa. Although two different localisation patterns for this protein were identified, neither AQP3 content nor its localisation were found to be correlated with sperm quality parameters.

Published online 18 December 2015

RD15351Body mass index and human sperm quality: neither one extreme nor the other

E. M. Luque, A. Tissera, M. P. Gaggino, R. I. Molina, A. Mangeaud, L. M. Vincenti, F. Beltramone, J. Sad Larcher, D. Estofán, M. Fiol de Cuneo and A. C. Martini
 

To determine whether body weight has an effect on semen quality, the present study explored the possible association between body weight (in terms of body mass index) and sperm function. The results indicate that both morbid obesity and being underweight have a negative effect on sperm quality, probably as a result of changes to epididymal function. These findings highlight the importance of an adequate body weight as the best option for fertility.

Published online 18 December 2015

RD15349Elimination of methylation marks at lysines 4 and 9 of histone 3 (H3K4 and H3K9) of spermatozoa alters offspring phenotype

Serafín Pérez-Cerezales, Priscila Ramos-Ibeas, Angela Lopez-Cardona, Eva Pericuesta, Raúl Fernandez-Gonzalez, Belen Pintado and Alfonso Gutiérrez-Adán
 

The function of epigenetic marks present in retained histones of mature spermatozoa is largely unknown. By reducing the methylation level at lysines 4 and 9 of histone 3 of mature spermatozoa we aimed to shed light on their significance during development. We discovered that these marks are important for normal embryo development and their reduction leads to abortions, premature death and morphological abnormalities in the offspring.

Published online 18 December 2015

RD15324Effect of inbreeding depression on bull sperm quality and field fertility

Jesús Dorado, Rosa Morales Cid, Antonio Molina, Manuel Hidalgo, Julia Ariza, Miguel Moreno-Millán and Sebastián Demyda-Peyrás
 

We studied for the first time the effect of high inbreeding levels in cattle sperm by automatised and objective methods. An extensive genetic analysis using an animal model showed that inbred bulls have a reduced field fertility and an increased calving interval compared with non-inbred bulls. Sperm from high inbred animals showed an increased ‘hyper-active like’ movement that could explain their decreased fertility.

Published online 14 December 2015

RD15350In vitro maturation affects chromosome segregation, spindle morphology and acetylation of lysine 16 on histone H4 in horse oocytes

Federica Franciosi, Ghylene Goudet, Irene Tessaro, Pascal Papillier, Rozenn Dalbies-Tran, Fabrice Reigner, Stefan Deleuze, Cecile Douet, Ileana Miclea, Valentina Lodde and Alberto M. Luciano
 

Mammalian eggs are often affected by aneuploidy, leading to failure in embryo implantation, miscarriages and genetic diseases. In horse oocytes the onset of aneuploidy is correlated with the disruption of an epigenetic mark that occurs without changes in gene expression. A deeper knowledge of the molecular basis of aneuploidy will allow the development of safer treatments to obtain healthy eggs.

Published online 30 November 2015

RD15313Soluble Delta-like ligand 1 alters human endometrial epithelial cell adhesive capacity

Michelle Van Sinderen, Jennifer Oyanedel, Ellen Menkhorst, Carly Cuman, Katarzyna Rainczuk, Amy Winship, Lois Salamonsen, Tracey Edgell and Evdokia Dimitriadis
 

Infertility affects 1 in 10 couples or millions of people worldwide and while IVF is an important intervention, 75% of all embryos transferred into the uterus do not establish a pregnancy. We investigated how the uterus of infertile women may prevent pregnancy and discovered a protein released by uterine tissue that potentially blocks pregnancy. Targeting this protein may be useful as a new treatment option for infertile women.

Published online 24 November 2015

RD15159Cumulus cell-conditioned medium supports embryonic stem cell differentiation to germ cell-like cells

Syed Mohmad Shah, Neha Saini, Syma Ashraf, Manoj Kumar Singh, Radhey Sham Manik, Suresh Kumar Singla, Prabhat Palta and Manmohan Singh Chauhan
 

The effect of cumulus cell-conditioned medium (CCM) on the differentiation of buffalo embryonic stem cells to germ cells were explored. A concentration of 20%–40% conditioned medium induced the highest expression of primordial germ cell, meiotic, spermatocyte and oocyte markers and led to the formation of oocyte-like structures. Further development of the cumulus conditioned medium induced differentiation strategy would be useful for understanding mammalian gametogenesis and transgenic animal production.


Insulin resistance (IR) is an underlying factor, common to both polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and type 2 diabetes. Genetic factors have also been reported to play a role in the pathogenesis of these two conditions, indicting a common genetic aetiology. In this study we aim to determine whether the genetic association between IR and diabetogenic SNPs is affected by PCOS status in Iranian women and found that the association may be influenced by the condition.

Published online 29 October 2015

RD15182Follicular fluid and serum metabolites in Holstein cows are predictive of genetic merit for fertility

S. G. Moore, A. O'Gorman, L. Brennan, T. Fair and S. T. Butler
 

This study examined the metabolite profile of serum and follicular fluid on Day 7 of the oestrous cycle in Holstein cows with good or poor genetic merit for fertility. Differences between the two genotypes in the abundance of fatty acids and amino acids were highly predictive of fertility. The results demonstrate that metabolite profiles in cattle respond to genetic selection for fertility traits, and specific metabolites may be useful biomarkers for fertility

Published online 22 October 2015

RD15239Suppression of Sertoli cell tumour development during the first wave of spermatogenesis in inhibin α-deficient mice

Jenna T. Haverfield, Peter G. Stanton, Kate L. Loveland, Heba Zahid, Peter K. Nicholls, Justine S. Olcorn, Yogeshwar Makanji, Catherine M. Itman, Evan R. Simpson and Sarah J. Meachem
 

Testicular cancer is the most common malignancy among young men; however, the mechanisms driving tumour growth are unclear. Herein we show that Sertoli cell tumours in the adult mouse testis can be profoundly suppressed by short-term inhibition of the pituitary hormone FSH in early postnatal life. These results show that FSH protects against Sertoli cell tumour growth during discrete windows of testicular development.


Regulation of c-kit during spermatogenesis remains largely unknown. Retinoic acid (RA) regulates c-kit expression through discrete promoter regions. An enhanceosome constituted between transcription factor binding sites RARE, PU.1 and ETS in response to RA play an imperative role in c-kit activation. RA-induced c-kit regulation may provide insights in the understanding of nuances between self renewal and differentiation of spermatogonial cells.

Published online 14 October 2015

RD15190Sperm DNA fragmentation in cryopreserved samples from subjects with different cancers

Lara Tamburrino, Marta Cambi, Sara Marchiani, Ilaria Manigrasso, Selene Degl'Innocenti, Gianni Forti, Mario Maggi, Elisabetta Baldi and Monica Muratori
 

Is sperm DNA fragmentation (SDF) involved in the lower fertilising ability of cryopreserved spermatozoa from cancer patients? In this study we evaluated SDF in two different cytometric sperm populations (PIbrighter and PIdimmer). In cryopreserved spermatozoa from cancer patients, PIbrighter SDF, which is more relevant to reproduction, was positively related to sperm motility and that the proportion of these cells was higher in samples from cancer versus non-cancer (oligozoospermic or affected by autoimmune pathologies) patients. The results of the study indicate that thawed motile spermatozoa of cancer patients may carry DNA damage.

Published online 14 October 2015

RD15300The assessment of sperm DNA fragmentation in the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)

S. D. Johnston, C. López-Fernández, F. Arroyo, J. L. Fernández and J. Gosálvez
 

It is now possible to reliably collect crocodile semen for fertility evaluation and AI. Herein we describe a validated method for assessing the quality of crocodile sperm DNA using the sperm chromatin dispersion test. This technique, a first for any reptile, will now be used for refining improved methods of crocodile sperm preservation.

Published online 14 October 2015

RD15238Effect of bovine oviductal fluid on development and quality of bovine embryos produced in vitro

Ricaurte Lopera-Vasquez, Meriem Hamdi, Veronica Maillo, Valeriano Lloreda, Pilar Coy, Alfonso Gutierrez-Adan, Pablo Bermejo-Alvarez and Dimitrios Rizos
 

The post-fertilisation culture environment in vitro determines embryo quality, and different strategies have been developed to improve culture conditions. The use of bovine oviductal fluid supplementation during in vitro culture had a positive effect on embryo development and embryo quality. Thus, by mimicking in vivo conditions using animal models, we could improve assisted reproductive technologies applied to both domestic species and humans.

Published online 14 October 2015

RD15269Peri-ovulatory endocrine regulation of the prostanoid pathways in the bovine uterus at early dioestrus

Milena Lopes Oliveira, Fabio Luiz D'Alexandri, Guilherme Pugliesi, Veerle Van Hoeck, Fernando Silveira Mesquita, Claudia M. B. Membrive, João Alberto Negrão, Craig E. Wheelock and Mario Binelli
 

In cattle, sex steroids modulate pre-implantation uterine function, embryo receptivity and consequently, fertility. Prostaglandins (PGs) are synthesised in the endometrium and influence conceptus growth and corpus luteum lifespan. Here, we examined the biosynthetic pathway of PGs and determined that distinctly different pro-oestrus concentrations of oestradiol and dioestrus concentrations of progesterone did not affect endometrial PG production during the first week after oestrus. The influence of PGs in fertility occurs at later time points of gestation.

Published online 14 October 2015

RD15103Cytokine gene expression at the maternal–fetal interface after somatic cell nuclear transfer pregnancies in small ruminants

Heloisa M. Rutigliano, Amanda Wilhelm, Justin Hall, Bi Shi, Qinggang Meng, Rusty Stott, Thomas D. Bunch, Kenneth L. White, Christopher J. Davies and Irina A. Polejaeva
 

The reasons why somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) pregnancies are at increased risk of pregnancy loss are poorly understood. This study investigated pregnancy losses and gene expression of inflammatory mediators in sheep and goat SCNT pregnancies. Sheep SCNT pregnancies had an increased incidence of pregnancy loss and increased expression of inflammatory cytokines in the placenta, which indicates the presence of an unfavourable environment for fetal development.

Published online 09 October 2015

RD15016Caudal vena cava progesterone and LH release patterns on Day 14 of gestation in primiparous sows

L. L. Hoving, S. M. Haen, B. F. A. Laurenssen, O. A. T. Peltoniemi, B. Kemp and N. M. Soede
 

To date, not much is known about the interaction of progesterone and LH, nor progesterone’s metabolism during early pregnancy in the sow. This study of the release pattern and concentration of progesterone in the caudal vena cava, following LH pulses revealed their temporary relation and confirmed postprandial decrease of progesterone. Already on day 14 of an individual sow’s second pregnancy, the function of the CL seems to be affected by LH.

Published online 08 October 2015

RD15249Characterisation and cryopreservation of the ovarian preantral follicle population from Spix

Érica C. G. Praxedes, Gabriela L. Lima, Andréia M. Silva, Carlos A. C. Apolinário, José A. B. Bezerra, Ana L. P. Souza, Moacir F. Oliveira, Ana P. R. Rodrigues and Alexandre R. Silva
 

Spix’s yellow-toothed cavies (Galea spixii) are hystricomorph rodents. The ovarian preantral follicle (PF) population of G. spixii was characterised in the present study. It was estimated that the PF population per ovarian pair was 416.0 ± 342.8 (mean ± s.e.m.). Moreover, after a solid surface vitrification process using dimethyl sulfoxide as the cryoprotectant, 69.5% of PFs were morphologically normal.

Published online 08 October 2015

RD15172Thyroid function and autoimmunity during ovarian stimulation for intracytoplasmic sperm injection

Gesthimani Mintziori, Dimitrios G. Goulis, Efstratios M. Kolibianakis, Aristidis Slavakis, Julia Bosdou, Grigorios Grimbizis and Basil C. Tarlatzis
 

The role of thyroid hormones in implantation and early embryo development has been highlighted recently because of the increased use of assisted reproduction technology (ART). Close examination of thyroid function in women undergoing ovarian stimulation shows that thyrotropin-stimulating hormone (TSH) concentrations could increase during the procedure, particularly in women who become pregnant. If this is true, special care, such as universal baseline screening, has to be considered for women undergoing ART.

Published online 05 October 2015

RD15173Modulation of embryonic development due to mating with immunised males

Ludmila A. Gerlinskaya, Svetlana O. Maslennikova, Margaret V. Anisimova, Nataly A. Feofanova, Evgenii L. Zavjalov, Galina V. Kontsevaya, Yuri M. Moshkin and Mikhail P. Moshkin
 

Can paternal experiences be transmitted to offspring? Here we show that mating of immunised male mice with unimmunised females significantly altered gestation conditions and in utero embryo development resulting in increased embryonic bodyweight. These results emphasise that, as active environmental explorers, males confer their experiences to their progeny, suggesting an important mechanism of population-wise adaptation to infectious load.

Published online 01 October 2015

RD15183The morphological and functional development of the stria vascularis in miniature pigs

Weiwei Guo, Haijin Yi, Zhang Yan, Lili Ren, Lei Chen, Li Dong Zhao, Yu Ning, David Z. Z. He and Shi-Ming Yang
 

Our study evaluated how the stria vascularis and organ of Corti develop in miniature pigs. The stria vascularis develops during the embryonic period, concurrent with maturation of the organ of Corti in miniature pigs. The magnitude of endocochlear potential reached a steady state when the stria vascularis was morphologically adult-like at E98. These findings provide a morphological and functional basis for future animal studies of various inner-ear diseases.

Published online 28 September 2015

RD15143Placenta-derived extracellular vesicles: their cargo and possible functions

Mary Familari, Tina Cronqvist, Zahra Masoumi and Stefan R. Hansson
 

Given the great potential of extracellular vesicles as biomarkers for detecting early-stage disease – in particular pre-eclampsia – here we have reviewed the characteristics of placenta-shed vesicles and conducted a meta analysis of their protein content, which has revealed significant variability. Achieving the goal of biomarkers for pregnancy disorders will depend on rigorous standards for isolation and detection of placenta-derived vesicles.

Published online 25 September 2015

RD15270Inducing ovulation with oestradiol cypionate allows flexibility in the timing of insemination and removes the need for gonadotrophin-releasing hormone in timed AI protocols for dairy cows

R. M. Ferreira, H. Ayres, L. U. Gimenes, F. P. Torres, F. A. Lima, M. B. Veras, T. G. Guida, R. V. Sala and P. S. Baruselli
 

The induction of synchronous ovulation and determination of the time of insemination are critical steps for the success of timed AI (TAI) in dairy cattle. The addition of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) had no beneficial effect on tightening the time to ovulation when oestradiol cypionate was used, and similar pregnancy rates were achieved when AI was performed 48 or 54 h after device removal. Thus, inducing ovulation with oestradiol cypionate removes the need for GnRH and can be a cost-effective and flexible option for TAI in dairy herds.

Published online 22 September 2015

RD15179Cytoplasmic membrane activities during first cleavage of zona-free porcine embryos: description and consequences

Rong Li, Ying Liu, Hanne Skovsgaard Pedersen and Henrik Callesen
 

Eggs are used in mammals for experiments and fertility treatment, but new ways to determine their quality are still needed. Using the pig as a model, eggs had their surrounding shell removed to visualise finer details in cell membranes during cleavage, showing new patterns reflecting their normality or otherwise. These observations supplement traditional egg evaluations, but require validation in other types of embryos from other mammals.

Published online 21 September 2015

RD15138Group management influences reproductive function of the male cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)

Diana C. Koester, Elizabeth W. Freeman, David E. Wildt, Kimberly A. Terrell, Ashley D. Franklin, Karen Meeks and Adrienne E. Crosier
 

The cheetah population under human care is notoriously difficult to breed and scientists need to gather as much biological data as possible to overcome issues ranging from behavioural compatibility to infertility. This work found that male cheetahs managed in small, closely bonded groups experience increased testicular function, including higher sperm quality, compared to males housed singly. These findings support existing management practices to improve breeding efforts to build assurance populations of cheetahs.

Published online 21 September 2015

RD15192Nutrient restriction in early ovine pregnancy stimulates C-type natriuretic peptide production

Sengodi Madhavan, Timothy C. R. Prickett, Eric A. Espiner and Graham K. Barrell
 

C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) may be required for support of the developing conceptus during pregnancy. We explored this by placing pregnant ewes on a restricted diet and found that their blood levels of CNP were elevated in comparison with ewes on a normal level of nutrition. Elevation of CNP levels may be an adaptation to enhance placental function when fetal development is impaired.

Published online 17 September 2015

RD15200Localisation of RNAs and proteins in nucleolar precursor bodies of early mouse embryos

Elena Lavrentyeva, Kseniya Shishova, German Kagarlitsky and Olga Zatsepina
 

Nucleolar precursor bodies (NPBs) are mandatory entities of mammalian zygotes, but their relation to nucleolus-like bodies (NLBs) of fully-grown oocytes remains vague. Here, we show that NPBs, unlike NLBs, are impoverished for RNA and rRNA despite of both bodies contain rRNA-binding proteins. We suggest a scheme for NPB assembly and transformation to functional nucleoli that supposes utilization of oocyte-derived nucleolar proteins but mainly of nascent rRNAs.

Published online 09 September 2015

RD15050Effects of testosterone and prolactin on steroidogenesis in post-ovulatory cumuli oophori and on in vitro oocyte fertilisation in the rat

Agnieszka Starowicz, Jerzy Galas, Ma?gorzata Duda, Zbigniew Tabarowski and Maria Szo?tys
 

Could a supplement hold the key to understanding the mechanism of progesterone production by the postovulatory cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs)? In the research various supplements influencing progesterone production by rat COCs containing unfertilised or fertilised oocytes have been tested in vitro, suggesting that the hormone mixture of prolactin and testosterone increased progesterone synthesis and oocyte fertilisability. This might prompt a wider research on the use of this mixture to increase the IVF success rates also in other species.

Published online 08 September 2015

RD15089Effect of docosahexanoic acid on quality of frozen–thawed bull semen in BioXcell extender

Asmatullah Kaka, Wahid Haron, Rosnina Yusoff, Nurhusien Yimer, A. M. Khumran, Kazhal Sarsaifi, Atique Ahmed Behan, Ubedullah Kaka, Akeel Ahmed Memon and Mahdi Ebrahimi
 

Earlier studies have shown that in vitro supplementation of DHA produced inconsistent results on the quality of frozen–thawed bull semen. This work aimed to overcome the variations reported previously. Results showed that 3 ng mL–1 DHA supplemented in BioXcell extender improved all sperm parameters compared with the control and other groups. The successful incorporation of DHA into the cell membrane before freezing protected the spermatozoa from disintegration caused by ice crystals.

Published online 07 September 2015

RD15223Follicle vascularity coordinates corpus luteum blood flow and progesterone production

S. G. S. de Tarso, G. D. A. Gastal, S. T. Bashir, M. O. Gastal, G. A. Apgar and E. L. Gastal
 

Over the last decade important advances have been made in the area of ovarian function using color-Doppler ultrasonography. Herein we investigated the influence of dimensions and vascularity of the preovulatory follicle (POF) wall as indicators to predict the size, blood flow, and capacity of progesterone production of the subsequent CL in cows. Strong correlations and linear associations between POF and/or CL dimensions and blood flow with systemic progesterone concentrations from the resultant CL were observed. Selection of POFs with greater blood flow is likely to result in CLs with improved potential for plasma progesterone production.

Published online 04 September 2015

RD14442Ultrastructure of spermatogenesis and spermatozoa in agoutis during sexual development

M. A. M. Arroyo, F. F. S. Silva, P. R. S. Santos, A. R. Silva, M. F. Oliveira and A. C. Assis Neto
 

The ultrastructure of the spermatogenesis in agoutis help to identify the processes that affect infertility and the use of biotechnologies related to reproduction. The Leydig and Sertoli cells undergo morpho-physiological changes during sexual development, especially in the prepubertal phase. The spermatozoon of agouti had a tapered head without prominence of the acrosome and no evidence of the perforatorium. There is evidence of degeneration of centrioles in completely formed spermatozoa. In order to deepen the knowledge on spermatogenesis of agouti kept in captivity, this work highlights the importance of reproduction in wild species for their preservation and rational creation.


For the first time in a marsupial species, this study visually revealed that spermatozoa of the tammar wallaby can be quickly induced into a hyperactivated pattern, a necessary condition that enables spermatozoa to fertilise eggs in nature. The study also identified that BWW medium is able to maintain sperm motility, metabolism and viability better than other commonly used media. As there has been no success with IVF in any marsupials so far, this information could enable researchers to develop a proper IVF protocol for endangered marsupial species.

Published online 27 August 2015

RD15246Kinetic effect of oestrogen on secretion of prostaglandins E2 and F2? in bovine oviduct epithelial cells

Zhiheng Dong, Nan Zhang, Wei Mao, Bo Liu, Na Huang, Peifeng Li, Changyou Li and Jinshan Cao
 

Prostaglandins are important factors in mediating fertilisation and establishing pregnancy. In this study we investigate the effect of oestrogen on prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and prostaglandin F2α (PGF) secretion and the role of synthase on PGE2 and PGF2a production in bovine oviduct epithelial cells. The findings suggest that exogenous oestradiol, PGE2 and PGF may modify bovine oviduct reproductive endocrine dysfunction.

Published online 25 August 2015

RD15128Differential gene expression in the endometrium reveals cytoskeletal and immunological genes in lactating dairy cows genetically divergent for fertility traits

Bruce Moran, Stephen T. Butler, Stephen G. Moore, David E. MacHugh and Christopher J. Creevey
 

We examined the global gene expression profile of endometrial tissue on Day 7 of the oestrous cycle in Holstein cows with good or poor genetic merit for fertility traits. Three physiologically relevant networks of genes were identified: (1) actin and cytoskeletal components; (2) immune function; and (3) ion transportation. This study has identified three important areas for future research.

Published online 25 August 2015

RD15226Combinatorial effects of epidermal growth factor, fibroblast growth factor 2 and insulin-like growth factor 1 on trophoblast cell proliferation and embryogenesis in cattle

Ming Xie, Sarah R. McCoski, Sally E. Johnson, Michelle L. Rhoads and Alan D. Ealy
 

In vitro embryo culture is gaining popularity in various species as a means for generating pregnancies. In this study, supplementing culture medium with uterine-derived factors improved bovine placental cell proliferation and embryo development. These findings support the contention that providing selective uterine-derived factors during early embryo culture improves embryo competency for maintaining viable pregnancies and producing healthy offspring.

Published online 25 August 2015

RD15174Dizygotic monochorionic canine fetuses with blood chimaerism and suspected freemartinism

Carolynne J. Joonè, Kurt G. M. De Cramer and Johan O. Nöthling
 

The presence of two canine fetuses within one placental site has been rarely documented in the literature. In this case report, we describe the finding of monochorionic canine fetuses of discordant gender, with co-mingling of the fetal blood supplies. Abnormal sexual development was discovered in both fetuses, which, in the female, resembles freemartinism, a phenomenon not previously reported in this species.

Published online 25 August 2015

RD15165Transgenerational effects of a hypercaloric diet

A. O. Joaquim, C. P. Coelho, P. Dias Motta, E. F. Bondan, E. Teodorov, M. F. M. Martins, T. B. Kirsten, R. C. V. Casarin, L. V. Bonamin and M. M. Bernardi
 

The maternal diet can alter the bodyweight and immune programming of subsequent generations. A maternal hypercaloric diet (HD) during puberty and early adult age induces overweight in the F1 generation and increases peripheral inflammation despite the feeding of a normocaloric diet to the F1 generation. It also induces adaptative patterns of the hypothalamic glial response towards a state of neuroprotection. These data reveal a transgenerational effect of the HD that may occur, in part, through permanent changes in immune and nervous system programming.

Published online 24 August 2015

RD15231Effect of seminal plasma proteins on the motile sperm subpopulations in ram ejaculates

Carolina Luna, Marc Yeste, María M. Rivera del Alamo, Juan Domingo, Adriana Casao, Joan E. Rodriguez-Gil, Rosaura Pérez-Pé, José A. Cebrián-Pérez and Teresa Muiño-Blanco
 

Seminal plasma proteins (SPP) support survival of ram spermatozoa, exerting a dual effect, both capacitating and decapacitating. The addition of SPP before in vitro capacitation with epidermal growth factor induced a decrease in progressive spermatozoa and an increase in hyperactivated spermatozoa. Ram spermatozoa are able to undergo capacitation with no hyperactivation and SPP are able to induce hyperactivation in spermatozoa but maintain them in a decapacitated state.

Published online 21 August 2015

RD15160Effect of C-type natriuretic peptide on maturation and developmental competence of immature mouse oocytes in vitro

Qiang Wei, Chuan Zhou, Min Yuan, Yuyang Miao, Xiaoe Zhao and Baohua Ma
 

Being able to induce meiotic arrest, C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) provides a new alternative to improve the synchronisation of nuclear and cytoplasmic maturation of oocytes matured in vitro. In the present study, temporary meiotic arrest induced by CNP significantly improved maturation and the subsequent development of mouse immature oocytes in vitro. These results indicate the potential value of CNP in improving the efficiency of oocyte IVM.

Published online 21 August 2015

RD15132Nuclear transfer alters placental gene expression and associated histone modifications of the placental-specific imprinted gene pleckstrin homology-like domain, family A, member 2 (PHLDA2) in cattle

Daniel R. Arnold, Roberta C. Gaspar, Carlos V. da Rocha, Juliano R. Sangalli, Tiago H. C. de Bem, Carolina A. P. Corrêa, João C. T. Penteado, Flavio V. Meirelles and Flavia L. Lopes
 

Comparing placental development of bovine embryos produced naturally, by IVF and by cloning would allow for improvements in animal production using assisted reproductive techniques. The present study demonstrates that gene expression of the imprinted gene pleckstrin homology-like domain, family A, member 2 (PHLDA2) is higher in early stage cloned placentas. This increase in PHLDA2 mRNA is associated with changes in the epigenetic event of histone methylation.

Published online 21 August 2015

RD15130Effect of intra-uterine growth restriction on long-term fertility in boars

Yan Lin, Xu Cheng, Peter Sutovsky, De Wu, Lian-Qiang Che, Zheng-Feng Fang, Sheng-Yu Xu, Bo Ren and Hong-Jun Dong
 

The reproductive performance of offspring in adulthood is determined during fetal and neonatal development. The aim of the present study was to explore the effect of intra-uterine growth restriction on the reproductive performance of offspring. Growth restriction affected sperm production via reproductive organ development and epigenetic regulation. These results provide evidence for the effects of prenatal development on programming reproductive performance in male offspring.

Published online 21 August 2015

RD14393Selection of reference genes for quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction in porcine embryos

Won-Jae Lee, Si-Jung Jang, Seung-Chan Lee, Ji-Sung Park, Ryoung-Hoon Jeon, Raghavendra Baregundi Subbarao, Dinesh Bharti, Jeong-Kyu Shin, Bong-Wook Park and Gyu-Jin Rho
 

The gene expression pattern varies between porcine embryos produced by different methods and to analyse these changes normalisation against reference genes is routinely employed. However, these reference genes should be carefully chosen for evaluation as they also tend to have variable expression. In our study using three different analysis programs, we determined that SDHA and H2A are the most-stable reference genes that can be used for accurate normalisation to obtain reliable results.

Published online 14 August 2015

RD15186Changes in aquaporin 5 in the non-ciliated cells of mouse oviduct according to sexual maturation and oestrous cycle

Won Heum Nah, Yeong Seok Oh, Jung Hye Hwang and M. C. Gye
 

Aquaporins (AQPs) play an important role in fluid homeostasis in epithelia. To understand oviductal fluid homeostasis, AQP5 expression was examined in immature and cycling female mice. In oviduct epithelia, AQP5 in non-ciliated cells was increased by gonadotropin in immature mice and peaked during oestrus in cycling females, suggesting its participation in fluid homeostasis in oviduct epithelia.

Published online 11 August 2015

RD15151Puberty onset is delayed following uteroplacental insufficiency and occurs earlier with improved lactation and growth for pups born small

Tania Romano, Deanne H. Hryciw, Kerryn T. Westcott and Mary E. Wlodek
 

Growth restriction increases the risk of developing disease in adulthood, with the postnatal environment playing a critical role. This study identified the effects of prenatal and postnatal growth restriction on puberty onset and metabolism in growth restricted rats. The results show that growth restricted males and females had a delayed puberty onset, with altered sex-hormone concentrations and reduced leptin. Improvement of postnatal nutrition leads to a restoration of plasma leptin concentrations and rectification of the timing of puberty onset.

Published online 11 August 2015

RD15251Time within reproductive season, but not age or inbreeding coefficient, affects seminal and sperm quality in the whooping crane (Grus americana)

M. E. Brown, S. J. Converse, J. N. Chandler, A. L. Crosier, W. Lynch, D. E. Wildt, C. L. Keefer and N. Songsasen
 

The whooping crane underwent a severe genetic bottleneck in the early 1940s. The present study demonstrates that time of breeding season, but not inbreeding coefficient, affects the seminal characteristics of cranes maintained ex situ. The findings will serve as an important foundation for efforts in incorporating AI with frozen–thawed semen into genetic and demographic management of this endangered species.

Published online 03 August 2015

RD15004Follicular size and stage and gonadotropin concentration affect alginate-encapsulated in vitro growth and survival of pre- and early antral dog follicles

Jennifer Nagashima, David E. Wildt, Alexander J. Travis and Nucharin Songsasen
 

This study aims to understand the complex dynamics of dog folliculogenesis through in vitro studies. This study demonstrates that both preantral and early antral stage follicle grow significantly in vitro with FSH, but not LH, being a key regulator. The findings serve as important foundation for the establishment of in vitro follicle culture system for rescuing maternal genomes in domestic and wild canids.

Published online 21 July 2015

RD15150Mitogen-activated protein kinase-activated protein kinase 2 is a critical regulator of pig oocyte meiotic maturation

Xiang-Hong Ou, Sen Li, Bao-Zeng Xu, Lei-Ning Chen, Man-Xi Jiang, Shao-Qin Chen and Nan-Qiao Chen
 

Oocyte quality is critical for female reproduction. Using a pig oocyte model, this study revealed the important role of mitogen-activated protein kinase-activated kinase (MK2) in regulating meiotic resumption and spindle organization, as well as euploid oocyte production. This will contribute to understanding the causes of female infertility and improving the success of assisted reproduction.

Published online 21 July 2015

RD15017Evidence that fibroblast growth factor 10 plays a role in follicle selection in cattle

A. C. S. Castilho, C. A. Price, F. Dalanezi, R. L. Ereno, M. F. Machado, C. M. Barros, B. G. Gasperin, P. B. D. Gonçalves and J. Buratini
 

The mechanisms underlying follicle selection in monovular species are largely unknown. We assessed the involvement of FGF7 subfamily members in follicle selection in cattle and found that expression of ligands and receptors is upregulated in subordinate vs dominant follicles during follicle deviation, and that FGF10 inhibits oestradiol secretion and expression of FSHR and IGF1R in granulosa cells. These data point to an important role for FGF10 in follicle selection.

Published online 21 July 2015

RD15118Effects of reduced glutathione on acrosin activity in frozen–thawed boar spermatozoa

Efrén Estrada, Joan E. Rodríguez-Gil, Maria M. Rivera del Álamo, Alejandro Peña and Marc Yeste
 

Reduced glutathione (GSH) improves the fertilising ability of frozen–thawed boar spermatozoa. The present study investigated the relationship between acrosin activity and reproductive performance in frozen–thawed boar spermatozoa and the effects of GSH. The results show that GSH counteracts the decrease in acrosin activity in good but not poor freezability ejaculates and suggest that the increase in reproductive performance mediated by GSH could be related to acrosin activity.

Published online 16 July 2015

RD15036Effects of birthweight on reproductive system development and onset of puberty in gilts

F. R. C. L. Almeida, B. Laurenssen, L. X. Pereira, K. J. Teerds and N. M. Soede
 

Studies on subsequent reproductive performance of low birth weight gilts are limited. The effects of birth weight on the development of the reproductive tract and puberty onset were investigated herein, and both parameters seem equivalent in different birth weight gilts. As birth weight may be an important parameter to include in dam line breeding programs, a better understanding of the impact of birth weight on fertility seems critical.

Published online 16 July 2015

RD15180Retinoic acid treatment alters germ cell heterogeneity and testicular echotexture in prepubescent ram lambs

Jennifer L. Giffin, Ann C. Hahnel and Pawel M. Bartlewski
 

Scrotal ultrasonography can be employed to study testicular development but echotextural characteristics of specific germ cell types remain unknown. Retinoic acid (RA) given to prepubescent ram lambs reduced the variation in germ cell populations, which corresponded with a significant change in numerical pixel values (brightness) of the testicular parenchyma. RA manipulation of spermatogenic function, particularly in sexually immature animals, may provide a useful model for further investigations into the non-invasive ultrasonographic monitoring of spermatogenesis.

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