Ovine fetal development is more sensitive to perturbation by the presence of serum in embryo culture before rather than after compaction

J A Rooke, T G McEvoy, C J Ashworth, J J Robinson, I Wilmut, L E Young, K D Sinclair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The effects on subsequent fetal development of the presence or absence of serum at different times during IVC of ovine zygotes were studied. Zygotes, recovered from superovulated ewes 36h after intrauterine AI using semen from a single sire, were cultured for 5 days in synthetic oviductal fluid (SOF) media supplemented with either BSA and amino acids (SOF-) or with 10% (v/v) steer serum (SOF+). Serum was present or absent during the first two and last 2 days of IVC giving four treatments (SOF-/SOF-; SOF-/SOF+;SOF+/SOF- and SOF+/SOF+). In total, 224 embryos, including 26 in vivo controls, were transferred singly at day 6 post-AI to synchronous recipients and the products of conception recovered at day 125 of gestation. Presence of serum during IVC had a biphasic effect on embryo development. The inclusion of serum during the first 2 days of IVC retarded early embryo development while the inclusion of serum during the last 2 days of IVC produced more blastocysts by day 6. These effects were independent of each other. The presence of serum during the first 2 days of IVC resulted in increased weights of gravid uterus, placenta, fetus, fetal heart and liver. The incidence of fetuses whose total or organ weights were greater than three standard deviations above the corresponding mean weights of control fetuses was also greater when serum was present during the first 2 days of IVC. However, even when serum was absent throughout IVC there was still an infrequent incidence of fetal weights greater than three standard deviations above the mean for control fetuses. These observations provide evidence that it is the early pre-compaction stages of embryo development that are particularly sensitive to perturbations leading to abnormal fetal development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-47
Number of pages9
JournalTheriogenology
Volume67
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007

Keywords

  • Animals
  • Culture Media
  • Embryo Culture Techniques
  • Embryonic Development
  • Female
  • Fetal Development
  • Fetal Weight
  • Insemination, Artificial
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Serum
  • Sheep
  • Time Factors

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