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In the present study, the cryoprotective effects of Lolium perenne antifreeze protein (LpAFP) on the vitrification of bovine embryos were evaluated. In vitro-produced blastocysts were divided into two groups: the control group (CG) without the addition of LpAFP and the treatment group (TG) with the addition of 500 ng/ml of LpAFP in the equilibrium and vitrification solution. Vitrification was carried out by transferring the blastocysts to the equilibrium solution [7.5% ethylene glycol (EG) and 7.5% dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO)] for 2 min and then to the vitrification solution (15% EG, 15% DMSO and 0.5M sucrose). The blastocysts were deposited on a cryotop device and submerged in liquid nitrogen. Warming was carried out in three steps in solutions with different sucrose concentrations (1.0, 0.5, and 0.0 M, respectively). Embryos were evaluated for re-expansion/hatching, the total cell count, and ultrastructural analysis. There was no significant difference in the re-expansion rate 24 h after warming; however, there was variation (P < 0.05) in the hatching rate in the TG and the total number of cells 24 h after warming was higher in the TG (114.87 ± 7.24) when compared with the CG (91.81 ± 4.94). The ultrastructural analysis showed changes in organelles related to the vitrification process but, in the TG, there was less damage to mitochondria and rough endoplasmic reticulum compared with the CG. In conclusion, the addition of 500 ng/ml of LpAFP during the vitrification of in vitro-produced bovine embryos improved the hatching rate and total cell number of blastocysts after warming and mitigated intracellular damage.
This study aimed to evaluate the effects of dexamethasone on development, viability, antrum formation and ultrastructural integrity of bovine secondary follicles cultured in vitro for 18 days. Bovine ovaries were obtained from slaughterhouses and secondary follicles of ~150–200 µm diameter were isolated and cultured in the laboratory in TCM-199+ alone or supplemented with different concentrations of dexamethasone (1, 10, 100 and 1000 ng/ml). Follicle viability was evaluated after the culture period, using calcein-AM (viable) and ethidium homodimer (nonviable). Follicle diameters and antrum formation were evaluated at days 0, 6, 12 and 18. Before or after in vitro culture, follicles were fixed for histological and ultrastructural analysis. Follicle diameters were evaluated using analysis of variance and Kruskal–Wallis test, while chi-squared test was used to evaluate the percentage of viable follicles and antrum formation (P < 0.05). Follicles cultured for 6 days with all treatments increased their diameters significantly, but there was no significant difference between treatments at the end of the culture period. In vitro cultured follicles showed antral cavity formation at the end of the culture period, but no influence of dexamethasone was seen. Ultrastructural analysis showed that follicles cultured with dexamethasone (1, 10, 100 and 1000 ng/ml) had well preserved granulosa cells. However, oocytes from follicles cultured with 10, 100 or 1000 ng/ml dexamethasone showed signs of degeneration. It can be concluded that follicles cultured in vitro in the presence of dexamethasone demonstrated continuous in vitro growth, but oocytes from follicles cultured with 10, 100 or 1000 ng/ml dexamethasone had poor ultrastructure.
This study aimed to evaluate mRNA levels of angiotensin II (ANG II) receptors (AGTR1 and AGTR2) in caprine follicles and to investigate the influence of ANG II on the viability and in vitro growth of preantral follicles. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to quantify AGTR1 and AGTR2 mRNA levels in the different follicular stages. For culture, caprine ovaries were collected, cut into 13 fragments and then either directly fixed for histological and ultrastructural analysis (fresh control) or placed in culture for 1 or 7 days in α-minumum essential medium plus (α-MEM+) with 0, 1, 5, 10, 50 or 100 ng/ml ANG II. Then, the fragments were destined to morphological, viability and ultrastructural analysis. The results showed that primordial follicles had higher levels of AGTR1 and AGTR2 mRNA than secondary follicles. Granulosa/theca cells from antral follicles had higher levels of AGTR1 mRNA than their respective cumulus–oocyte complex (COCs). After 7 days of culture, ANG II (10 or 50 ng/ml) maintained the percentages of normal follicles compared with α-MEM+. Fluorescence and ultrastructural microscopy confirmed follicular integrity in ANG II (10 ng/ml). In conclusion, a high expression of AGTR1 and AGTR2 is observed in primordial follicles. Granulosa/theca cells from antral follicles had higher levels of AGTR1 mRNA. Finally, 10 ng/ml ANG II maintained the viability of caprine preantral follicles after in vitro culture.
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