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This study investigated the effect of the flavonoid-based compound isorhamnetin (ISO) on maturation and developmental competence in oxidative stress-exposed porcine oocytes in vitro. Treatment with 2 μM ISO (2 ISO) increases the developmental rate of oxidative stress-exposed porcine oocytes during in vitro maturation (IVM). The glutathione level and mRNA expression of antioxidant-related genes (NFE2L2 and SOD2) were increased in the 2 ISO-treated group, whereas the reactive oxygen species level was decreased. Treatment with 2 ISO increased mRNA expression of a cumulus cell expansion-related gene (SHAS2) and improved chromosomal alignment. mRNA expression of maternal genes (CCNB1, MOS, BMP15 and GDF9) and mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) activity were increased in the 2 ISO-treated group. The total cell number per blastocyst and percentage of apoptotic cells were increased and decreased in the 2 ISO-treated group, respectively. Treatment with 2 ISO increased mRNA expression of development-related genes (SOX2, NANOG, and POU5F1) and anti-apoptotic genes (BCL2L1 and BIRC5) and decreased that of pro-apoptotic genes (CASP3 and FAS). These results demonstrate that 2 ISO improves the quality of porcine oocytes by protecting them against oxidative stress during IVM and enhances subsequent embryo development in vitro. Therefore, we propose that ISO is a useful supplement for IVM of porcine oocytes.
Our previous studies have already revealed that β-cryptoxanthin (BCX), hesperetin (HES), and icariin (ICA) antioxidants are effective for in vitro maturation (IVM) of porcine oocytes. In this study, we investigated which of BCX, HES, or ICA was more effective for IVM of porcine oocytes. The antioxidant properties were assessed with aged porcine oocytes and embryos by comparing 2,2-diphenyl-1-(2,4,6-trinitrophenyl)hydrazyl (DPPH), reducing power, and H2O2 scavenging activity assays. The chemical assay results demonstrated that BCX had a greater DPPH scavenging activity and reducing power than HES and ICA, compared with controls. However, the H2O2 scavenging activity of the antioxidants was similar when tested at the optimal concentrations of 1 μM BCX (BCX-1), 100 μM HES (HES-100), and 5 μM ICA (ICA-5). The biological assay results showed that BCX-1 treatment was more effective in inducing a significant reduction in reactive oxygen species (ROS), improving glutathione levels, and increasing the expression of antioxidant genes. In addition, BCX-1 inhibited apoptosis by increasing the expression of anti-apoptotic genes and decreasing pro-apoptotic genes in porcine parthenogenetic blastocysts. BCX-1 also significantly increased the blastocyst formation rate compared with the ageing control group, HES-100 and ICA-5. This study demonstrates that damage from ROS produced during oocyte ageing can be prevented by supplementing antioxidants into the IVM medium, and BCX may be a potential candidate to improve assisted reproductive technologies.
Allicin (AL) regulates the cellular redox, proliferation, viability, and cell cycle of different cells against extracellular-derived stress. This study investigated the effects of allicin treatment on porcine oocyte maturation and developmental competence. Porcine oocytes were cultured in medium supplemented with 0 (control), 0.01, 0.1, 1, 10 or 100 μM AL, respectively, during in vitro maturation (IVM). The rate of polar body emission was higher in the 0.1 AL-treated group (74.5% ± 2.3%) than in the control (68.0% ± 2.6%) (P < 0.1). After parthenogenetic activation, the rates of cleavage and blastocyst formation were significantly higher in the 0.1 AL-treated group than in the control (P < 0.05). The reactive oxygen species level at metaphase II did not significantly differ among all groups. In matured oocytes, the expression of both BAK and CASP3, and BIRC5 was significantly lower and higher, respectively, in the 0.1 AL-treated group than in the control. Similarly, the expression of BMP15 and CCNB1, and the activity of phospho-p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), significantly increased. These results indicate that supplementation of oocyte maturation medium with allicin during IVM improves the maturation of oocytes and the subsequent developmental competence of porcine oocytes.
Many transgenic domestic animals have been developed to produce therapeutic proteins in the mammary gland, and this approach is one of the most important methods for agricultural and biomedical applications. However, expression and secretion of a protein varies because transgenes are integrated at random sites in the genome. In addition, distal enhancers are very important for transcriptional gene regulation and tissue-specific gene expression. Development of a vector system regulated accurately in the genome is needed to improve production of therapeutic proteins. The objective of this study was to develop a knock-in system for expression of human fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) in the bovine β-casein gene locus. The F2A sequence was fused to the human FGF2 gene and inserted into exon 3 of the β-casein gene. We detected expression of human FGF2 mRNA in the HC11 mouse mammary epithelial cells by RT-PCR and human FGF2 protein in the culture media using western blot analysis when the knock-in vector was introduced. We transfected the knock-in vector into bovine ear fibroblasts and produced knock-in fibroblasts using the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 system. Moreover, the CRISPR/Cas9 system was more efficient than conventional methods. In addition, we produced knock-in blastocysts by somatic cell nuclear transfer using the knock-in fibroblasts. Our knock-in fibroblasts may help to create cloned embryos for development of transgenic dairy cattle expressing human FGF2 protein in the mammary gland via the expression system of the bovine β-casein gene.
Evaluation of apoptosis and expression level of apoptosis-related genes is useful for examining the variation in embryo quality according to environmental change. The objective of this study was to investigate DNA fragmentation and apoptosis-related gene expression patterns in frozen-thawed bovine blastocysts. In vitro produced day 7 blastocysts were frozen by two different vitrification methods (conventional 0.25 ml straw or MVC straw). After thawing, DNA fragmentation of surviving embryos was examined by TUNEL assay, and the expression patterns of their apoptotic genes (survivin, Fas, Hsp 70 and caspase-3) were evaluated using real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. In vitro survival rates of frozen-thawed embryos were higher following the MVC vitrification method (88.2% re-expanded at 24 h, 77.1% hatching at 48 h) than the conventional (C) vitrification method (77.0% re-expanded at 24 h, 66.7% hatching at 48 h). However, both vitrified methods resulted in a significantly higher apoptotic index (C vitrification method 11.9%, MVC vitrification method 11.0%) than in non-frozen embryos (3.0%). Expression levels of survivin, Fas, caspase-3, and Hsp 70 were also increased in the frozen-thawed embryos compared with non-frozen embryos. These results indicate that the cryopreservation procedure might cause damage that results in an increase in DNA fragmentation and apoptosis-related gene transcription, reducing developmental capacity of frozen-thawed embryos.
Microtubules and microfilaments are major cytoskeletal components and important modulators for chromosomal movement and cellular division in mammalian oocytes. In this study we observed microtubule and microfilament organisation in bovine oocytes by laser scanning confocal microscopy, and determined requirements of their assembly during in vitro maturation. After germinal vesicle breakdown, small microtubular asters were observed near the condensed chromatin. The asters appeared to elongate and encompass condensed chromatin particles. At the metaphase stage, microtubules were observed in the second meiotic spindle at the metaphase stage. The meiotic spindle was a symmetrical, barrel-shaped structure containing anastral broad poles, located peripherally and radially oriented. Treatment with nocodazole did not inhibit germinal vesicle breakdown. However, progression to metaphase failed to occur in oocytes treated with nocodazole. In contrast, microfilaments were observed as a relatively thick uniform area around the cell cortex and overlying chromatin following germinal vesicle breakdown. Treatment with cytochalasin B inhibited microfilament polymerisation but did not prevent either germinal vesicle breakdown or metaphase formation. However, movement of chromatin to the proper position was inhibited in oocytes treated with cytochalasin B. These results suggest that both microtubules and microfilaments are closely associated with reconstruction and proper positioning of chromatin during meiotic maturation in bovine oocytes.
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