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Free access

Yufen Zhao, Boyang Yu, Xinyu Liu, Jitu Hu, Yanyan Yang, Erge Namei, Bingxue Yang, Yue Bai, Yinghong Qian, and Haijun Li

Although urokinase-type plasminogen activator (PLAU) and urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (PLAUR) have been reported to play key roles in ovarian function, their precise contribution to mammalian follicular development remains unclear. In this study, we first observed that PLAU and PLAUR were present in bovine granulosa cells (GCs). Following culture of granulosa cells with PLAU (0.5 ng/mL) and PLAUR antibody (10 µg/mL) separately and together for 24 or 48 h, a proliferation assay showed that interaction between PLAU and PLAUR contributes to bovine GC proliferation. To study the potential pathways involved in PLAU/PLAUR-induced cell proliferation, ELISA and Western blotting were performed. We found that PLAU significantly increased the ratio of phosphorylated to non-phosphorylated ERK1/2 through PLAUR signaling. Further treatment with U0126, a specific ERK1/2 phosphorylation inhibitor, markedly suppressed PLAU/PLAUR-induced ERK1/2 phosphorylation and cell proliferation. In addition, we found that PLAU and PLAUR significantly increased the intracellular cAMP level and the use of Rp-cAMP, a specific PKA inhibitor, prevented PLAU/PLAUR from promoting activation of the ERK1/2 pathway and GC proliferation. Therefore, the interaction between PLAU and PLAUR may be involved in accumulating cAMP signals and enabling MAPK/ERK1/2 activation, affecting GC proliferation. Here, we provide new mechanistic insights into the roles of PLAU and PLAUR on promoting bovine GC proliferation. The finding that potential cross-points between PLAU/PLAUR-induced intracellular signals affect GC proliferation will help in understanding the mechanisms regulating early follicular development.

Free access

Liuhong Yang, Lei Chen, Xiaosheng Lu, Anni Tan, Yao Chen, Yalan Li, Xuemei Peng, Shaochun Yuan, Dongqing Cai, and Yanhong Yu

Peri-ovarian adipose tissue (POAT) is a kind of intra-abdominal white adipose tissue that is present surrounding the ovaries in rodents. Recent studies demonstrated that POAT-deficient mice displayed a phenotype of delayed antral follicular development, for which decreases in serum estrogen, serum FSH and FSHR levels were responsible. However, folliculogenesis is regulated by endocrine signals and also modulated by a number of locally produced intraovarian factors whose acts are both autocrine and paracrine. Here, we used a model of surgical removal of POAT unilaterally and contralateral ovaries as controls, as both were under the same endocrine control, to assess the paracrine effect of the POAT on folliculogenesis. Surgical removal of unilateral POAT resulted in delayed antral follicular development and the increased number of atretic follicles, accompanied by decreased levels of intraovarian adipokines and growth factors, lipid accumulation and steroidogenic enzyme expression. POAT-deficient ovaries displayed compensatory increased expressions of intraovarian genes, such as Vegf and Adpn for angiogenesis, Acc, Fasn, and Gapdh involved in lipogenesis and Fshr in response to FSH stimulation. Furthermore, we demonstrated that removal of POAT promoted follicular apoptosis, caused retention of cytoplasmic YAP and inhibited PTEN-AKT-mTOR activation. These alterations were observed only in the POAT-deficient ovaries but not in the contralateral ovaries (with POAT), which suggests that a paracrine interaction between POAT and ovaries is important for normal folliculogenesis.

Free access

Zhoufei Mao, Liuhong Yang, Xiaosheng Lu, Anni Tan, Yuxia Wang, Fei Ding, Luanjuan Xiao, Xufeng Qi, and Yanhong Yu

C1q/tumor necrosis factor-related protein 3 (C1QTNF3) is a novel adipokine with modulating effects on metabolism, inflammation and the cardiovascular system. C1QTNF3 expression levels in the sera and omental adipose tissues of women with PCOS are low compared to control subjects. However, the expression and function of C1QTNF3 in the ovary has not previously been examined. Here, we assessed the expression patterns of C1qtnf3 in the ovary and explored its role in folliculogenesis. The C1qtnf3 transcript abundance was higher in large follicles than in small follicles and was under the influence of gonadotropin. C1QTNF3 was detected mainly in the granulosa cells and oocytes of growing follicles and modestly in the granulosa cells of atretic follicles and in luteal cells. Excess androgen significantly decreased C1QTNF3 expression in the ovaries in vivo and in granulosa cells in vitro. Recombinant C1QTNF3 protein accelerated the weight gain of ovarian explants and the growth of preantral follicles induced by follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) in vitro. The stimulatory effect of C1QTNF3 on ovarian growth was accompanied by the initiation of AKT, mTOR, p70S6K and 4EBP1 phosphorylation, an increase in CCND2 expression and a reduction in cleaved CASP3 levels. Moreover, the addition of C1QTNF3 accelerated proliferation and reduced activated CASP3/7 activity in granulosa cells. In vivo, the ovarian intrabursal administration of the C1QTNF3 antibody delayed gonadotropin-induced antral follicle development. Taken together, our data demonstrate that C1QTNF3 is an intraovarian factor that promotes follicle growth by accelerating proliferation, decelerating apoptosis and promoting AKT/mTOR phosphorylation.

Free access

Jianfeng Yao, Lixia Geng, Rongfu Huang, Weilin Peng, Xuan Chen, Xiaohong Jiang, Miao Yu, Ming Li, Yanfang Huang, and Xiaoyu Yang

Vitrification of embryos is a routine procedure in IVF (in vitro fertilization) laboratories. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the effect of vitrification on mouse preimplantation embryo development in vitro, and effect on the epigenetic status of imprinted gene Grb10 in mouse embryos. The blastocyst formation rate for vitrified 8-cell embryos was similar to the non-vitrified 8-cell embryos, whereas the blastocyst hatching rate was lower than that of the non-vitrified group. The expression level of Grb10 major-type transcript decreased significantly in vitrified blastocysts compared with non-vitrified and in vivo blastocysts. Moreover, the global DNA methylation level in 8-cell embryos and blastocysts, and the DNA methylation at CpG island 1 (CGI1) of Grb10 in blastocysts were also significantly decreased after vitrification. In vitro culture condition had no adverse effect, except for on the DNA methylation in Grb10 CGI1. These results suggest that vitrification may reduce the in vitro development of mouse 8-cell embryos and affect the expression and DNA methylation of imprinted gene Grb10.

Free access

Chun-Bo Teng, Hong-Lu Diao, Hong Ma, Jing Cong, Hao Yu, Xing-Hong Ma, Li-Bin Xu, and Zeng-Ming Yang

Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3), a member of the Stat family, is specifically activated during mouse embryo implantation. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression, activation and regulation of Stat3 in rat uterus during early pregnancy, pseudopregnancy, delayed implantation and artificial decidualization. Stat3 mRNA was highly expressed in the luminal epithelium on day 5 and in the luminal epithelium and underlying stromal cells at implantation sites on day 6 of pregnancy. There was a strong level of Stat3 protein expression and phosphorylation in the stromal cells near the lumen and in the luminal epithelium on day 5 of pregnancy, which was similar to day 5 of pseudopregnancy. In the afternoon of day 6, the strong level of Stat3 phosphorylation was detected only in the luminal epithelium. Stat3 was highly expressed and activated in the decidual cells from days 7 to 9 of pregnancy and under artificial decidualization in the present study. Our results suggest that the strong level of Stat3 activation in the luminal epithelium and underlying stromal cells during the pre-implantation period may be important for establishing uterine receptivity as in mice, and the high level of Stat3 expression and activation in decidual cells may play a role during decidualization.

Restricted access

Yan Sun, Yifen Yang, Ziran Jiang, Feiyu wang, Kun Han, Linjun Hong, Jianhua Cao, and Mei Yu

In brief

Transforming the endometrial luminal epithelium (LE) into a receptive state is a requisite event for successful embryo implantation. This study suggests the role of a transcription factor in regulating endometrial LE receptivity.


The endometrial luminal epithelium (LE) undergoes extensive remodeling during implantation to establish receptivity of the uterus in response to the conceptus signals, such as interleukin 1β (IL1B). But the mechanisms remain to be fully understood. This study investigated the role of CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein β (C/EBP-β) in regulating pig endometrial LE receptivity. Our results showed that C/EBP-β was expressed and activated only in the endometrial LE in an implantation-dependent manner. In addition, C/EBP-β was highly activated at the pre-attachment stage compared to the attachment stage, and its activation was correlated with the expression of IL1B-dependent extracellular signal-regulated kinases1/2-p90 ribosomal S6 kinase signaling axis. Subsequent chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-sequencing analysis revealed that the binding of C/EBP-β within the promoter was positively associated with the transcription of genes related to cell remodeling. One such gene is matrix metalloproteinase 8 (MMP8), which is responsible for extracellular matrix degradation. The expression of MMP8 was abundant at the pre-attachment stage but dramatically declined at the attachment stage in the endometrial LE. Consistent with C/EBP-β, the expression and activation of MMP8 were limited to the endometrial LE in an implantation-dependent manner. Using ChIP-qPCR and electrophoresis mobility shift assay approaches, we demonstrated that C/EBP-β regulated the expression of the MMP8 gene during implantation. Furthermore, we detected that MMP8 and one of its substrates, type II collagen, showed a mutually exclusive expression pattern in pig endometrial LE during implantation. Our findings indicate that C/EBP-β plays a role in pig endometrial LE receptivity by regulating cell remodeling-related genes, such as MMP8, in response to conceptus signals during implantation.

Free access

Zhengkai Wei, Tingting Yu, Jingjing Wang, Chaoqun Wang, Xiao Liu, Zhen Han, Xu Zhang, Yong Zhang, Hongsheng Ouyang, and Zhengtao Yang

Sperm motility, fertilization and embryo implantation are several important factors in reproduction. Except healthy state of sperm and embryo themselves, successful pregnancy is closely related to the status of female reproductive tract immune system. Increased immune cells in reproductive tract often leads to low sperm motility and low chance of embryo implantation, but the mechanisms remain not well clarified. The aim of this study is to investigate the direct effects of swine polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) on sperm or embryo in vitro and then try to clarify the molecular mechanisms undergoing the phenomenon. Swine sperm-triggered neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) were observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). PMNs phagocytosis of sperms was examined by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Sperm-triggered NETs were quantitated by Pico Green®. Vital staining of the interaction between PMNs and embryo were observed by using confocal microscope. It was showed that PMNs were directly activated by sperm in the form of phagocytosis or casting NETs and that sperm-triggered-NETs formation was made up with DNA co-located with citrullinated histone 3 (citH3) and myeloperoxidase (MPO). In addition, the potential mechanism of NETs release was relevant to NADPH oxidase, ERK1/2 or p38 MAPK signaling pathways. Of great interest was that swine embryo was first found entangled in NETs in vitro, but the function and mechanism of this action in vivo fertilization still needed further investigation. In conclusion, this is the first report about swine sperm-induced NETs that entangle sperm and embryo, which might provide an entirely understanding of swine reproductive physiology and immunology.

Open access

Ying Huang, Jiang-Man Gao, Chun-Mei Zhang, Hong-Cui Zhao, Yue Zhao, Rong Li, Yang Yu, and Jie Qiao

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common reproductive disorder that has many characteristic features including hyperandrogenemia, insulin resistance and obesity, which may have significant implications for pregnancy outcomes and long-term health of women. Daughters born to PCOS mothers constitute a high-risk group for metabolic and reproductive derangements, but no report has described potential growth and metabolic risk factors for such female offspring. Hence, we used a mouse model of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)-induced PCOS to study the mechanisms underlying the pathology of PCOS by investigating the growth, developmental characteristics, metabolic indexes and expression profiles of key genes of offspring born to the models. We found that the average litter size was significantly smaller in the DHEA group, and female offspring had sustained higher body weight, increased body fat and triglyceride content in serum and liver; they also exhibited decreased energy expenditure, oxygen consumption and impaired glucose tolerance. Genes related to glucolipid metabolism such as Pparγ, Acot1/2, Fgf21, Pdk4 and Inhbb were upregulated in the liver of the offspring in DHEA group compared with those in controls, whereas Cyp17a1 expression was significantly decreased. However, the expression of these genes was not detected in male offspring. Our results show that female offspring in DHEA group exhibit perturbed growth and glucolipid metabolism that were not observed in male offspring.

Free access

Yang Yu, Chenhui Ding, Eryao Wang, Xinjie Chen, Xuemei Li, Chunli Zhao, Yong Fan, Liu Wang, Nathalie Beaujean, Qi Zhou, Alice Jouneau, and Weizhi Ji

Even though it generates healthy adults, nuclear transfer in mammals remains an inefficient process. Mainly attributed to abnormal reprograming of the donor chromatin, this inefficiency may also be caused at least partly by a specific effect of the cloning technique which has not yet been well investigated. There are two main procedures for transferring nuclei into enucleated oocytes: fusion and piezoelectric microinjection, the latter being used mostly in mice. We have, therefore, decided to compare the quality and the developmental ability, both in vivo and in vitro, of embryos reconstructed with electrofusion or piezoelectric injection. In addition, the effect of piezo setups of differing electric strengths was investigated. Along with the record of the rate of development, we compared the nuclear integrity in the blastomeres during the first cleavages as well as the morphological and cellular quality of the blastocysts. Our results show that the piezo-assisted micromanipulation can induce DNA damage in the reconstructed embryos, apoptosis, and reduced cell numbers in blastocysts as well as a lower rate of development to term. Even if piezo-driven injection facilitates a faster and more efficient rate of reconstruction, it should be used with precaution and with as low parameters as possible.

Free access

Xiao-yu Yang, Hua Li, Qing-wen Ma, Jing-bin Yan, Jiang-guo Zhao, Hua-wei Li, Hai-qing Shen, Hai-feng Liu, Ying Huang, Shu-Zhen Huang, Yi-Tao Zeng, and Fanyi Zeng

Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) has been used for the cloning of various mammals. However, the rates of successful, healthy birth are generally poor. To improve cloning efficiency, we report the utilization of an ‘autologous SCNT’ cloning technique in which the somatic nucleus of a female bovine donor is transferred to its own enucleated oocyte recovered by ovum pick up, in contrast to the routine ‘allogeneic SCNT’ procedure using oocytes from unrelated females. Our results showed that embryos derived from autologous SCNThave significantly higher developmental competence than those derived from allogeneic SCNT, especiallyat the eight-cell (60 vs 44%), morula (45 vs 36%), and blastocyst (38 vs 23%) stages. The pregnancy and birth rates were also higher for the autologous (39 and 23%), compared to the allogeneic (22 and 6%) SCNT groups. Genome-wide histone3-lysine9 methylation profiles reveal that autologous SCNTembryos have less epigenetic defects than the allogeneic SCNTembryos. This study indicates that autologous SCNT can improve the efficiency of bovine cloning with less reprogramming deficiency.