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  • Abstract: placenta x
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Free access

S. Lindenberg, S. J. Kimber and E. Kallin

Summary. Mouse blastocysts bound LNF I conjugated to BSA-FITC or HSA-FITC and binding was inhibited by LNF I-HSA and to some extent by free LNF I, suggesting that the trophectoderm carries receptors specific for LNF I-like structures previously shown to be involved in implantation.

Keywords: embryo; implantation; neoglycoprotein; receptor; trophoblast, mouse

Free access

Ann C. McRae and R. B. Church

Summary. A scoring scheme was devised to characterize visually the morphological differentiation of whole-mount, unfixed mouse blastocysts. Embryos were recovered from groups of intact mice (implanting embryos) and mice ovariectomized on Day 3 of pregnancy (implantation-delayed embryos) every 3 h from 18:00 h on Day 4 until 12:00 h on Day 5. Blastocyst differentiation was assessed according to the presence of a zona pellucida, the appearance of the outer margin of trophectoderm cells, the visibility of the blastocoele and the relative size of the inner cell mass. The results obtained indicate that, during this period, implanting and implantation-delayed mouse blastocysts lose the zona as well as exhibit rounded trophectoderm cells, an enlarged inner cell mass and an increasing opacity of the blastocoele. In contrast, the trophectoderm cells of implanting blastocysts only exhibit extensive cytoplasmic projections, probably due to remodelling of the intracellular cytoskeleton. Growth of the inner cell mass appeared to precede the other morphological changes in the majority of blastocysts, and thus might be a prerequisite for further differentiation. The rate of blastocyst differentiation and the survival of embryos were adversely affected by the condition of delayed implantation, induced by ovariectomy. This study suggests that the appearance of cytoplasmic projections from trophectoderm cells is central to the control of blastocyst implantation.

Keywords: blastocyst; morphology; trophectoderm; implantation; mouse

Free access

LJ Xiao, HL Diao, XH Ma, NZ Ding, K Kadomatsu, T Muramatsu and ZM Yang

Basigin is essential for fertilization and implantation. The aim of this study was to determine the expression and hormonal regulation of the basigin gene in the rat uterus during the peri-implantation period. Basigin mRNA was localized strongly in the luminal epithelium on day 1 of pregnancy and gradually decreased to a basal concentration from day 3 to day 5 of pregnancy. Basigin mRNA and protein were expressed strongly in the implanting blastocyst and primary decidua on day 6 of pregnancy. A similar expression pattern was also induced in the uterus after delayed implantation was terminated by oestrogen treatment and the embryo implanted, whereas expression was not detected during delayed implantation. Basigin expression was not detected on day 6 of pseudopregnancy. Basigin mRNA was expressed strongly in the decidua on days 7 and 8 of pregnancy. Furthermore, both basigin mRNA and protein were induced in the decidua during artificial decidualization. In addition, oestrogen stimulated strong expression of basigin mRNA in the uterine epithelium of ovariectomized rats. These findings indicate that basigin may play a role during implantation and decidualization in rats.

Free access

M G Martínez-Hernández, L A Baiza-Gutman, A Castillo-Trápala and D Randall Armant

Trophoblast cells express urokinase-type plasminogen activator (PLAU) and may depend on its activity for endometrial invasion and tissue remodeling during peri-implantation development. However, the developmental regulation, tissue distribution, and function of PLAU are not completely understood. In this study, the expression of PLAU and its regulation by extracellular matrix proteins was examined by RT-PCR, immunocytochemistry, and plasminogen–casein zymography in cultured mouse embryos. There was a progressive increase in Plau mRNA expression in blastocysts cultured on gestation days 4–8. Tissue-type plasminogen activator (55 kDa) and PLAU (a triplet of 40, 37, and 31 kDa) were present in conditioned medium and embryo lysates, and were adsorbed to the culture plate surface. The temporal expression pattern of PLAU, according to semi-quantitative gel zymography, was similar in non-adhering embryos and embryos cultured on fibronectin, laminin, or type IV collagen, although type IV collagen and laminin upregulated Plau mRNA expression. Immunofluorescence revealed PLAU on the surface of the mural trophectoderm and in non-spreading giant trophoblast cells. Exogenous human plasminogen was transformed to plasmin by cultured embryos and activated endogenous matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9). Indeed, the developmental expression profile of MMP9 was similar to that of PLAU. Our data suggest that the intrinsic developmental program predominantly regulates PLAU expression during implantation, and that PLAU could be responsible for activation of MMP9, leading to localized matrix proteolysis as trophoblast invasion commences.

Free access

Rebecca L Jones, Tu’uhevaha J Kaitu’u-Lino, Guiying Nie, L Gabriel Sanchez-Partida, Jock K Findlay and Lois A Salamonsen

Maternal–fetal communications are critical for the establishment of pregnancy. Embryonic growth and differentiation factors produced by the oviduct and uterus play essential roles during the pre- and early post-implantation phases. Although several studies indicate roles for activin in embryonic development, gene-knockout studies have failed to identify a critical role in mammalian embryogenesis. We hypothesized that activin is produced by maternal tissues during the establishment of pregnancy, and thus maternally derived activin could compensate for the absence of embryonic activin in null homozygotes during critical developmental stages. We investigated the expression of inhibin α, activin βA, and βB subunits in the mouse oviduct and uterus during the estrous cycle and early pregnancy, and in the early conceptus. Inhibin α subunit was weakly expressed, while activin βA and βB subunits were strongly expressed in oviduct and uterus at estrous, and dramatically upregulated in the uterus on each day of pregnancy between days 3.5 and 8.5 post coitum. Prior to implantation, activin βA and βB subunits were immunolocalized to oviductal and uterine epithelial cells; following implantation they were expressed in the stroma, in a wave preceding decidualization. Later in pregnancy, activin βA and βB subunits were present in decidua basalis, trophoblast giant cells, and labyrinth zone of the developing placenta. Expression of activin βA subunit was also detected in blastocysts and early post-implantation embryos. These data are consistent with a role for maternally derived activins in the support of the pre-implantation embryo, and during gastrulation and embryogenesis.

Free access

Peter T Ruane, Rebekka Koeck, Stéphane C Berneau, Susan J Kimber, Melissa Westwood, Daniel R Brison and John D Aplin

In vitro culture during assisted reproduction technologies (ARTs) exposes pre-implantation embryos to environmental stressors, such as non-physiological nutritional, oxidative and osmotic conditions. The effects on subsequent implantation are not well understood but could contribute to poor ART efficiency and outcomes. We have used exposure to hyperosmolarity to investigate the effects of stress on the ability of embryos to interact with endometrial cells in an in vitro model. Culturing mouse blastocysts for 2 h in medium with osmolarity raised by 400 mosmol induced blastocoel collapse and re-expansion, but did not affect subsequent attachment to, or invasion of, the endometrial epithelial Ishikawa cell line. Inhibition of stress-responsive c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activity with SP600125 did not affect the intercellular interactions between these embryos and the epithelial cells. Four successive cycles of hyperosmotic stress at E5.5 had no effect on attachment, but promoted embryonic breaching of the epithelial cell layer by trophoblast giant cells in a JNK-dependent manner. These findings suggest that acute stress at the blastocyst stage may promote trophoblast breaching of the endometrial epithelium at implantation and implicates stress signalling through JNK in the process of trophectoderm differentiation into the invasive trophoblast necessary for the establishment of pregnancy. The data may lead to increased understanding of factors governing ART success rates and safety.

Free access

Y. Yamamoto, M. Kurohmaru and Y. Hayashi

Summary. Mouse trophoblast and decidua were examined by means of immunohistochemistry to define the localization of type I interferon. The decidua were stained for type I interferon at the time of implantation. The strong reaction was first observed in the primary decidual zone on day 5 and subsequently in the secondary decidual zone on day 6. After day 10, the decidua basalis and decidua capsularis showed a strong reaction.

At the one-cell stage, embryos were weakly labelled, but a positive reaction was recognized in compacted morulae. Blastocysts on days 3 and 4 were positive in trophoblast and inner cell mass and a strong reaction was observed in the primitive endoderm on day 4. The visceral endoderm on day 5 and the trophoblast on day 6 were positive. After day 10, the trophoblast giant cells, labyrinth, visceral yolk sac and fetal blood cells gave a positive reaction.

This study is the first demonstration of type I interferon localization in situ in mouse trophoblast and decidua during decidual formation.

Keywords: type I interferon; implantation; decidualization; trophoblast; mouse

Free access

Xue-Chao Tian, Qu-Yuan Wang, Dang-Dang Li, Shou-Tang Wang, Zhan-Qing Yang, Bin Guo and Zhan-Peng Yue

The aim of this study was to examine the expression and regulation of the crystallin, alpha B (Cryab) gene in mouse uterus during the peri-implantation period by in situ hybridization and real-time PCR. There was no detectable Cryab mRNA signal on days 1–4 of pregnancy. On day 5 of pregnancy when embryo implanted, a high level of Cryab mRNA signal was found in the subluminal stroma surrounding the implanting blastocyst. On days 6–8, Cryab mRNA was strongly expressed in the primary decidua. By real-time PCR, a high level of Cryab expression was detected on days 7 and 8 of pregnancy, although Cryab expression was seen from days 1 to 8. Under in vivo and in vitro artificial decidualization, Cryab expression was significantly elevated. Compared with the progesterone-primed delayed implantation uterus, a high level of Cryab mRNA expression was observed in estrogen-activated implantation uterus. In the uterine stromal cells, cAMP, estrogen, and progesterone could induce the expression of Cryab gene. In the ovariectomized mouse uterus, estrogen could also induce the expression of Cryab while progesterone inhibited its expression. Our data suggest that Cryab may play an important role during mouse embryo implantation and decidualization and that estrogen and progesterone can regulate the expression of Cryab gene.

Open access

Patricia Grasa, Heidy Kaune and Suzannah A Williams

Female mice generating oocytes lacking complex N- and O-glycans (double mutants (DM)) produce only one small litter before undergoing premature ovarian failure (POF) by 3 months. Here we investigate the basis of the small litter by evaluating ovulation rate and embryo development in DM (Mgat1 F/F C1galt1 F/F:ZP3Cre) and Control (Mgat1 F/F C1galt1 F/F) females. Surprisingly, DM ovulation rate was normal at 6 weeks, but declined dramatically by 9 weeks. In vitro development of zygotes to blastocysts was equivalent to Controls although all embryos from DM females lacked a normal zona pellucida (ZP) and ∼30% lacked a ZP entirely. In contrast, in vivo preimplantation development resulted in less embryos recovered from DM females compared with Controls at 3.5 days post coitum (dpc) (3.2±1.3 vs 7.0±0.6). Furthermore, only 45% of mated DM females contained embryos at 3.5 dpc. Of the preimplantation embryos collected from DM females, approximately half were morulae unlike Controls where the majority were blastocysts, indicating delayed embryo development in DM females. Post-implantation development in DM females was analysed to determine whether delayed preimplantation development affected subsequent development. In DM females at 5.5 dpc, only ∼40% of embryos found at 3.5 dpc had implanted. However, at 6.5 dpc, implantation sites in DM females corresponded to embryo numbers at 3.5 dpc indicating delayed implantation. At 9.5 dpc, the number of decidua corresponded to embryo numbers 6 days earlier indicating that all implanted embryos progress to midgestation. Therefore, a lack of complex N- and O-glycans in oocytes during development impairs early embryo development and viability in vivo leading to delayed implantation and a small litter.

Free access

J. P. Hearn, G. E. Webley and A. A. Gidley-Baird

Summary. Genes for chorionic gonadotrophin (CG) are transcribed by the 16-cell embryo stage in humans, but there is no clear evidence of CG secretion as a bioactive dimer before attachment and trophoblast outgrowth stages of implantation. The studies summarized question the timing of CG expression and secretion, the possible roles of CG for intraembryonic differentiation and at the implantation site, and the recognition of this primate embryo-derived signal in support of the corpus luteum. The data suggest that the implantation window in primates may be broader than in nonprimate species, where a closer synchrony between embryonic, tubal and uterine events appears to be necessary for embryonic survival. Some preliminary data concerning an association between peripheral thrombocytopenia, ovarian inhibin secretion and peri-implantation stages of embryo development indicate that an unknown embryonic signal may be secreted before bioactive CG can be detected.

Keywords: chorionic gonadotrophin; corpus luteum; embryo; implantation; platelet-activating factor; inhibin; pregnancy; primate