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Open access

Jing Liu, Yang Wang, Peng Chen, Yue Ma, Shuo Wang, Ye Tian, Anna Wang and Danbo Wang

Previous lncRNA microarray screening found that the AC002454.1 gene was highly expressed in endometriosis (EMS), and these expression levels were highly correlated with cyclin-dependent kinase-6 (CDK6). This study investigated the expression level and correlation between AC002454.1 and CDK6 in endometrium tissues and the influence of these changes in expression upon the biological behavior of eutopic endometrial cells. We confirmed AC002454.1 and CDK6 mRNA and protein were highly expressed in ectopic and eutopic endometrial tissue from patients with EMS and were clearly correlated. In vitro, both AC002454.1 and CDK6 positively regulated the proliferation, migration and invasion ability of eutopic endometrial cells and could promote the transformation of cells from G0/G1 phase to S phase. AC002454.1 and CDK6 may have synergistic effects, thereby affecting the biological behavior of endometrial cells, and thus promote the progression of EMS.

Free access

Natalie A Trigg, Andrew L Eamens and Brett Nixon

It is now well established that mature spermatozoa harbour a rich and diverse profile of small non-protein-coding regulatory RNAs (sRNAs). There is also growing appreciation that this sRNA profile displays considerable plasticity, being altered in response to paternal exposure to a variety of environmental stressors. Coupled with evidence that upon delivery to the oocyte at the moment of fertilisation, sperm-borne sRNAs are able to influence both early embryonic development and the subsequent health of the offspring, there is now interest in both the timing and degree of change in the composition of the sRNA cargo of sperm. Models in which such epigenetic changes are linked to the spermatogenic cycle are seemingly incompatible with the lack of overt phenotypic changes in the spermatozoa of affected males. Rather, there is mounting consensus that such changes are imposed on sperm during their transit and storage within the epididymis, a protracted developmental window that takes place over several weeks. Notably, since spermatozoa are rendered transcriptionally and translationally silent during their development in the testes, it is most likely that the epididymis-documented alterations to the sperm sRNA profile are driven extrinsically, with a leading candidate being epididymosomes: small membrane enclosed extracellular vesicles that encapsulate a complex macromolecular cargo of proteins and RNAs, including the sRNAs. Here, we review the role of epididymosome–sperm communication in contributing to the establishment of the sperm sRNA profile during their epididymal transit.

Open access

Hang Qi, Guiling Liang, Jin Yu, Xiaofeng Wang, Yan Liang, Xiaoqing He, Tienan Feng and Jian Zhang

MicroRNA (miRNA) expression profiles in tubal endometriosis (EM) are still poorly understood. In this study, we analyzed the differential expression of miRNAs and the related gene networks and signaling pathways in tubal EM. Four tubal epithelium samples from tubal EM patients and five normal tubal epithelium samples from uterine leiomyoma patients were collected for miRNA microarray. Bioinformatics analyses, including Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA), Gene Ontology (GO) analysis and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis, were performed. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) validation of five miRNAs was performed in six tubal epithelium samples from tubal EM and six from control. A total of 17 significantly differentially expressed miRNAs and 4343 potential miRNA-target genes involved in tubal EM were identified (fold change >1.5 and FDR-adjusted P value <0.05). IPA indicated connections between miRNAs, target genes and other gynecological diseases like endometrial carcinoma. GO and KEGG analysis revealed that most of the identified genes were involved in the mTOR signaling pathway, SNARE interactions in vesicular transport and endocytosis. We constructed an miRNA-gene-disease network using target gene prediction. Functional analysis showed that the mTOR pathway was connected closely to tubal EM. Our results demonstrate for the first time the differentially expressed miRNAs and the related signal pathways involved in the pathogenesis of tubal EM which contribute to elucidating the pathogenic mechanism of tubal EM-related infertility.

Restricted access

Zubing Cao, Tengteng Xu, Xu Tong, Dandan Zhang, Chengxue Liu, Yiqing Wang, Di Gao, Lei Luo, Ling Zhang, Yunsheng Li and Yunhai Zhang

HASPIN kinase-catalyzed phosphorylation of histone H3 on threonine 3 (H3T3p) directs the activity and localization of chromosomal passenger complex (CPC) and spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) to regulate chromosome condensation and segregation in both mitosis and meiosis. However, the function of HASPIN kinase in the meiotic maturation of porcine oocytes is not yet known. Here, we found that HASPIN mRNA is constantly expressed in porcine oocyte maturation and subsequent early embryo development. H3T3p is highly enriched on chromosomes at germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD) stage and thereafter maintains a low level in progression through metaphase I (MI) to metaphase II (MII). Correspondingly, H3T3p was completely abolished in oocytes treated with an inhibitor of HASPIN kinase. Functionally, inhibition of HASPIN activity led to a significant reduction in the rate of oocyte meiotic maturation and the limited cumulus expansion. Additionally, HASPIN inhibition caused both spindle disorganization and chromosome misalignment in oocytes at MI and MII stage. Importantly, HASPIN inhibition severely prevented deacetylation of several highly conserved lysine (K) residues of histone H3 and H4 including H3K9, H3K14, H4K5, H4K8, H4K12 and H4K16 on the metaphase chromosomes during oocyte meiotic maturation. Taken together, these results demonstrate that HASPIN kinase regulates porcine oocyte meiotic maturation via modulating histone deacetylation.

Restricted access

J Nynca, M Słowińska, S Judycka and A Ciereszko

Rainbow trout sperm are ‘maladapted’ to freshwater spawning, resulting in shorter duration of sperm motility in fresh water compared to buffered saline solution. We hypothesized that different sperm motility-activating media have various effects on sperm motility characteristics and oxidative stress, as well as on the protein profiles of rainbow trout sperm. We designed an experimental model for activation of rainbow trout sperm motility in different osmotic conditions: (i) isosmotic and (ii) hypoosmotic. Spermatozoa activation with hypoosmotic solution was associated with lower values for sperm motility parameters (52%) and an induced increase in ROS level (19.4%) in comparison to isosmotic activation with isosmotic solution (67 and 9.5% for sperm motility and ROS, respectively). Hypoosmotic activation resulted in a higher number of differentially abundant sperm proteins (out of which 50 were identified) compared to isosmotic conditions, where only two spots of protein disulfide-isomerase 6 were changed in abundance. The proteins are mainly involved in the TCA cycle, tight and gap junction signaling, Sertoli cell–Sertoli cell junction signaling and asparagine degradation. Our results, for the first time, indicate that during hypoosmotic activation of sperm motility, osmotic stress triggers oxidative stress and disturbances mostly to structural proteins and metabolic enzymes. Our results strongly suggest that comparative physiological and biochemical analysis of rainbow trout sperm characteristics in isosmotic and hypoosmotic conditions could be a useful model for studying the mechanism of sperm activation in salmonid fish.

Free access

Julia Kim and Emre Seli

Mitochondria play an essential role in generating energy for embryo development and maintaining embryo metabolism through key cellular functions including ion homeostasis, amino acid metabolism, glycolysis, fatty acid metabolism, signal transduction and apoptotic regulation. Recent literature suggests that mitochondrial content and function may be related to implantation success and embryo viability. Some studies have linked increased levels of mitochondrial DNA to aneuploidy, advanced maternal age and euploid blastocyst with implantation failure, while others have failed to demonstrate similar findings. This review aims to provide an overview of the current literature surrounding the possibilities of using mitochondria as an additional biomarker for infertility treatment outcome and summarize the reasons as to why there are inconsistencies in these studies.

Open access

Shou-Bin Tang, Lei-Lei Yang, Ting-Ting Zhang, Qian Wang, Shen Yin, Shi-Ming Luo, Wei Shen, Zhao-Jia Ge and Qing-Yuan Sun

It is demonstrated that repeated superovulation has deleterious effects on mouse ovaries and cumulus cells. However, little is known about the effects of repeated superovulation on early embryos. Epigenetic reprogramming is an important event in early embryonic development and could be easily disrupted by the environment. Thus, we speculated that multiple superovulations may have adverse effects on histone modifications in the early embryos. Female CD1 mice were randomly divided into four groups: (a) spontaneous estrus cycle (R0); (b) with once superovulation (R1); (c) with three times superovulation at a 7-day interval (R3) and (d) with five times superovulation at a 7-day interval (R5). We found that repeated superovulation remarkably decreased the fertilization rate. With the increase of superovulation times, the rate of early embryo development was decreased. The expression of Oct4, Sox2 and Nanog was also affected by superovulation in blastocysts. The immunofluorescence results showed that the acetylation level of histone 4 at lysine 12 (H4K12ac) was significantly reduced by repeated superovulation in mouse early embryos (P < 0.01). Acetylation level of histone 4 at lysine 16 (H4K16ac) was also significantly reduced in pronuclei and blastocyst along with the increase of superovulation times (P < 0.01). H3K9me2 and H3K27me3 were significantly increased in four-cell embryos and blastocysts. We further found that repeated superovulation treatment increased the mRNA level of histone deacetylases Hdac1, Hdac2 and histone methyltransferase G9a, but decreased the expression level of histone demethylase-encoding genes Kdm6a and Kdm6b in early embryos. In a word, multiple superovulations alter histone modifications in early embryos.

Free access

T Leahy, J P Rickard, N C Bernecic, X Druart and S P de Graaf

Ejaculation results in the confluence of epididymal spermatozoa with secretions of the accessory sex glands. This interaction is not a prerequisite for fertilisation success, but seminal factors do play a crucial role in prolonging the survival of spermatozoa both in vitro and in vivo by affording protection from handling induced stress and some selective mechanisms of the female reproductive tract. Reproductive biologists have long sought to identify specific factors in seminal plasma that influence sperm function and fertility in these contexts. Many seminal plasma proteins have been identified as diagnostic predictors of sperm function and have been isolated and applied in vitro to prevent sperm damage associated with the application of artificial reproductive technologies. Proteomic assessment of the spermatozoon, and its surroundings, has provided considerable advances towards these goals and allowed for greater understanding of their physiological function. In this review, the importance of seminal plasma will be examined through a proteomic lens to provide comprehensive analysis of the ram seminal proteome and detail the use of proteomic studies that correlate seminal plasma proteins with ram sperm function and preservation ability.

Free access

Noelia P Di Giorgio, Marianne Bizzozzero-Hiriart, Carlos Libertun and Victoria Lux-Lantos

Neuroendocrine control of reproduction involves the interplay of various factors that become active at some point along development. GnRH is the main neurohormone controlling reproduction and among the most important inputs modulating GnRH synthesis/secretion are GABA and kisspeptins. These interactions of GABA and kisspeptin in the control of GnRH secretion can take place by the presence of the receptors of both factors on the GnRH neuron or alternatively by the actions of GABA on kisspeptin neurons and/or the actions of kisspeptin on GABA neurons. Kisspeptin acts on the Kiss1R, a seven transmembrane domain, Gαq/11-coupled receptor that activates phospholipase C, although some Gαq/11-independent pathways in mediating part of the effects of Kiss1R activation have also been proposed. GABA acts through two kinds of receptors, ionotropic GABAA/C receptors involving a chloride channel and associated with fast inhibitory/stimulatory conductance and metabotropic GABAB receptors (GABABR) that are Gi/0 protein linked inducing late slow hyperpolarization. In this review, we aim to summarize the different ways in which these two actors, kisspeptin and GABA, interact to modulate GnRH secretion across the reproductive lifespan.

Restricted access

Guangyin Xi, Wenjing Wang, Sarfaraz A Fazlani, Fusheng Yao, Mingyao Yang, Jing Hao, Lei An and Jianhui Tian

Compared to ovarian antral follicle development, the mechanism underlying preantral follicle growth has not been well documented. Although C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) involvement in preantral folliculogenesis has been explored, its detailed role has not been fully defined. Here, we used mouse preantral follicles and granulosa cells (GCs) as a model for investigating the dynamic expression of CNP and natriuretic peptide receptor 2 (NPR2) during preantral folliculogenesis, the regulatory role of oocyte-derived growth factors (ODGFs) in natriuretic peptide type C (Nppc) and Npr2 expression, and the effect of CNP on preantral GC viability. Both mRNA and protein levels of Nppc and Npr2 were gradually activated during preantral folliculogenesis. CNP supplementation in culture medium significantly promoted the growth of in vitro-cultured preantral follicles and enhanced the viability of cultured GCs in a follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)-independent manner. Using adult and prepubertal mice as an in vivo model, CNP pre-treatment via intraperitoneal injection before conventional superovulation also had a beneficial effect on promoting the ovulation rate. Furthermore, ODGFs enhanced Nppc and Npr2 expression in the in vitro-cultured preantral follicles and GCs. Mechanistic study demonstrated that the regulation of WNT signaling and estrogen synthesis may be implicated in the promoting role of CNP in preantral folliculogenesis. This study not only proves that CNP is a critical regulator of preantral follicle growth, but also provides new insight in understanding the crosstalk between oocytes and somatic cells during early folliculogenesis.