(1/4970) Ontogeny of expression of a receptor for platelet-activating factor in mouse preimplantation embryos and the effects of fertilization and culture in vitro on its expression.

Platelet-activating factor (PAF; 1-o-alkyl-2-acetyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine) is a potent ether phospholipid. It is one of the preimplantation embryo's autocrine growth/survival factors. It may act via a G protein-linked receptor on the embryo; however, the evidence for this is conflicting. The recent description of the intracellular form of the PAF:acetlyhydrolase enzyme as having structural homology with G proteins and Ras also suggests this as a potential intracellular receptor/transducer for PAF. This study used reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction to examine the ontogeny of expression of the genes for these proteins in the oocyte and preimplantation-stage embryo. Transcripts for the G protein-linked PAF receptor were detected in the late 2-cell-stage embryo and in all stages from the 4-cell stage to blastocysts. They were also present in unfertilized oocytes and newly fertilized zygotes but only at relatively low levels. The incidence of expression was generally low and variable in late zygotes and early 2-cell embryos. Expression past the 2-cell stage was alpha-amanitin sensitive. The results indicated that mRNA for this receptor is a maternal transcript that was degraded during the zygote-2-cell stage. New expression of the receptor transcript required activation of the zygotic genome. Fertilization of embryos in vitro caused this transcript not to be expressed in the zygote. Culture of zygotes (irrespective of their method of fertilization) caused expression from the zygotic genome to be retarded by more than 24 h. This retardation did not occur if culture commenced at the 2-cell stage. The transcripts for the subunits of intracellular PAF:acetylhydrolase were not detected in oocytes or at any stage of embryo development examined, despite their being readily detected in control tissue. This study confirms the presence of the G protein-linked PAF receptor in the 2-cell embryo and describes for the first time its normal pattern of expression during early development. The adverse effects of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and embryo culture on the expression of this transcript may be a contributing factor for the poor viability of embryos produced in this manner. The reduced expression of PAF-receptor mRNA following IVF predicts that such embryos may have a deficiency in autocrine stimulation and also suggests that supplementation of growth media with exogenous PAF would be only partially beneficial. The effect of IVF and culture may also explain the conflicting literature.  (+info)

(2/4970) An intact sperm nuclear matrix may be necessary for the mouse paternal genome to participate in embryonic development.

We have been interested in determining the minimally required elements in the sperm head that are necessary in order for the paternal genome to participate in embryogenesis. We used an ionic detergent, mixed alkyltrimethylammonium bromide (ATAB), plus dithiothreitol (DTT) to remove the acrosome and almost all of the perinuclear theca, leaving only the sperm nucleus morphologically intact. We also tested the stability of the sperm nuclear matrix by the ability to form nuclear halos. Sperm nuclei washed in freshly prepared 0.5% ATAB + 2 mM DTT completely decondensed when extracted with salt, but nuclei washed in the same buffer that was 1 wk old, and then extracted with salt, produced nuclear halos, indicating stable nuclear matrices. When we treated sperm heads with freshly prepared ATAB+DTT and injected them into oocytes, none of the oocytes developed into live offspring. In contrast, sperm heads treated in the same way but with 1-wk-old ATAB+DTT solution could support development of about 30% of the oocytes to live offspring. Electron microscopy demonstrated that most of the perinuclear theca had been removed in both cases. These data suggest that at least in the mouse, the only component of the spermatozoa that is crucial for participation in embryologic development is the sperm nucleus with a stable nuclear matrix.  (+info)

(3/4970) Endometrial oestrogen and progesterone receptors and their relationship to sonographic appearance of the endometrium.

The rapid development of ultrasonographic equipment now permits instantaneous assessment of follicles and endometrium. The sonographic appearance of the endometrium has been discussed in relation to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles. However, a generally agreed view of the relationship of the sonographic appearance to fecundity in IVF cycles has not emerged. We have studied the relationship between steroid receptors and the sonographic appearance of the preovulatory endometrium in natural cycles and ovulation induction cycles. Preovulatory endometrial thickness was not found to be indicative of fecundity, although a preovulatory endometrial thickness of <9 mm related to an elevated miscarriage rate. The preovulatory endometrial echo pattern did not predict fecundity. No relationships were found among endometrial appearance, endometrial steroid receptors and steroid hormone concentrations in serum. Oestrogen or progesterone receptor concentrations were not related to endometrial thickness or to concentrations of serum oestradiol, the only significant correlation being found between the endometrial concentrations of oestrogen and progesterone receptors. The ratio of progesterone:oestrogen receptor concentration was somewhat less in echo pattern B (not triple line) endometrium compared with pattern A (triple line) endometrium. Oestrogen and progesterone receptor concentrations appeared stable on gonadotrophin induction, though fewer numbers were found during clomiphene cycles than in natural cycles. With regard to the distribution of receptor concentration between clomiphene and natural cycles, most women using clomiphene had very low oestrogen receptor populations. Pregnancy rates were low, in spite of high ovulatory rates during clomiphene treatment and were mainly related to low oestrogen receptor concentrations in preovulatory endometrium.  (+info)

(4/4970) Expression of CD44 in human cumulus and mural granulosa cells of individual patients in in-vitro fertilization programmes.

CD44 is a polymorphic and polyfunctional transmembrane glycoprotein widely expressed in many types of cells. Here, the expression of this protein on human membrana granulosa was studied by two techniques. Using confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) with the mouse monoclonal antibody to human CD44 (clone G44-26), cells immunoreactive for CD44 were observed in both cumulus and mural granulosa cell masses. On the other hand, using monoclonal antibody to human CD44v9, goat polyclonal antibody to human CD44v3-10 and the clone G44-26, no immunoreactivity for CD44v9 and/or CD44v3-10 was observed in either cell group by flow cytometry. In the flow cytometric analysis of 32 patients, the incidence of CD44 expression in cumulus cells (62.6+/-1.3%) was significantly higher than that in mural granulosa cells (38.5+/-3.2%) (P<0.0001). In the comparison of CD44 expression by flow cytometry according to the maturation of each cumulus-oocyte complex, the incidence of CD44 expression of cumulus cells was significantly higher in the mature group than in the immature group (P<0.05). In a flow cytometric analysis, patients with endometriosis showed a significantly lower incidence of CD44 expression in cumulus cells compared to the infertility of unknown origin group (P<0.05), and compared to both the male infertility group and the unknown origin group in mural granulosa cells (P<0.01). These findings suggest that the standard form of CD44 is expressed in human membrana granulosa with polarity and may play an important role in oocyte maturation.  (+info)

(5/4970) Origin of DNA damage in ejaculated human spermatozoa.

The molecular basis of many forms of male infertility is poorly defined. One area of research that has been studied intensely is the integrity of the DNA in the nucleus of mature ejaculated spermatozoa. It has been shown that, in men with abnormal sperm parameters, the DNA is more likely to possess strand breaks. However, how and why this DNA damage originates in certain males and how it may influence the genetic project of a mature spermatozoon is unknown. Two theories have been proposed to describe the origin of this DNA damage in mature spermatozoa. The first arises from studies performed in animal models and is linked to the unique manner in which mammalian sperm chromatin is packaged, while the second attributes the nuclear DNA damage in mature spermatozoa to apoptosis. One of the factors implicated in sperm apoptosis is the cell surface protein, Fas. In this review, we discuss the possible origins of DNA damage in ejaculated human spermatozoa, how these spermatozoa arrive in the ejaculate of some men, and what consequences they may have if they succeed in their genetic project.  (+info)

(6/4970) In-vitro fertilization and culture of mouse embryos in vitro significantly retards the onset of insulin-like growth factor-II expression from the zygotic genome.

In this study, the effect of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and culture of mouse embryos in vitro on the normal expression of insulin-like growth factor-II (IFG-II) ligand and receptor was examined. The expression of IGF-II increased in a linear fashion at least up to the 8-cell stage of development. IGF-II expression in embryos collected fresh from the reproductive tract was significantly (P < 0.001) greater than in embryos fertilized in the reproductive tract and cultured in vitro (in-situ fertilized: ISF), and its expression was further reduced (P < 0.001) in IVF embryos at all development stages tested. The expression of IGF-II was significantly (P < 0.001) lower when embryos were cultured individually in 100 microl drops compared with culture in groups of 10 in 10 microl drops of medium. The addition of platelet activating factor to culture medium partially overcame this density-dependent decline of expression. Culture of ISF and IVF zygotes also caused the onset of new IGF-II mRNA transcription from the zygotic genome to be significantly (P < 0.001) retarded, until at least the 8-cell stage of development. This effect was greater (P < 0.05) for IVF than for ISF embryos. Neither IVF nor culture had any obvious effect on IFG-II/mannose-6-phosphate receptor (IGF-IIr) mRNA expression.  (+info)

(7/4970) Detection of benzo[a]pyrene diol epoxide-DNA adducts in embryos from smoking couples: evidence for transmission by spermatozoa.

Tobacco smoking is deleterious to reproduction. Benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) is a potent carcinogen in cigarette smoke. Its reactive metabolite induces DNA-adducts, which can cause mutations. We investigated whether B[a]P diol epoxide (BPDE) DNA adducts are detectable in preimplantation embryos in relation to parental smoking. A total of 17 couples were classified by their smoking habits: (i) both partners smoke; (ii) wife non-smoker, husband smokes; and (iii) both partners were non-smokers. Their 27 embryos were exposed to an anti-BPDE monoclonal antibody that recognizes BPDE-DNA adducts. Immunostaining was assessed in each embryo and an intensity score was calculated for embryos in each smoking group. The proportion of blastomeres which stained was higher for embryos of smokers than for non-smokers (0.723 versus 0.310). The mean intensity score was also higher for embryos of smokers (1.40+/-0.28) than for non-smokers (0.38+/-0.14; P = 0.015), but was similar for both types of smoking couples. The mean intensity score was positively correlated with the number of cigarettes smoked by fathers (P = 0.02). Increased mean immunostaining in embryos from smokers, relative to non-smokers, indicates a relationship with parental smoking. The similar levels of immunostaining in embryos from both types of smoking couples suggest that transmission of modified DNA is mainly through spermatozoa. We confirmed paternal transmission of modified DNA by detection of DNA adducts in spermatozoa of a smoker father and his embryo.  (+info)

(8/4970) Fertilization, embryonic development, and offspring from mouse eggs injected with round spermatids combined with Ca2+ oscillation-inducing sperm factor.

Round spermatids, precursor male gametes, are known to possess the potential to achieve fertilization and embryonic development when injected into eggs. However, injection of spermatids alone seldom activates eggs in the mouse, as spermatids by themselves cannot induce an increase in intracellular Ca2+, a prerequisite for egg activation. We injected a mouse round spermatid into an egg simultaneously with partially purified sperm factor from differentiated hamster spermatozoa. The combined injection produced repetitive Ca2+ increases (Ca2+ oscillations) lasting for at least 4 h as observed at fertilization, and induced activation in 92% of eggs. This method provided 75% fertilization success associated with male and female pronucleus formation and development to 2-cell embryos, while only 7% of eggs were fertilized by injection of a spermatid alone. Of the 2-cell embryos, approximately 50% developed to blastocysts during 5 days of culture in vitro, while no blastocysts were obtained following injection of sperm factor alone. Furthermore, the 2-cell embryos, that were created by spermatids and sperm factor and transplanted into foster mothers, developed into normal offspring, although the percentage was only 22%. All infants grew into healthy adults carrying normal chromosomes. The sperm factor served as a complementary factor for successful fertilization by round spermatid injection.  (+info)