Summary. The concentration of thromboxane (TX) B-2 was similar in plasma from all sources but was significantly greater (P < 0·01) in amniotic fluid. Fetal hypophysectomy was without effect on maternal or fetal levels of TXB-2 (P > 0·1). Neither normal parturition at term nor prematurely induced delivery was associated with any significant trend in TXB-2 levels. During late pregnancy (105–145 days of gestation) the concentrations of TXB-2 and 13, 14-dihydro-15-keto-prostaglandin F (PGFM) in maternal and fetal plasma were significantly correlated (P < 0·001). There was, however, no correlation between TXB-2 and PGFM levels in samples taken during the 36 h before delivery. These data suggest that thromboxanes play little part in the mechanism of parturition in sheep.
M. D. Mitchell, B. R. Hicks and J. S. Robinson
M. J. N. C. Keirse, B. R. Hicks and A. C. Turnbull
Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, OX3 9DU, U.K.
K I Aston, G P Li, B A Hicks, B R Sessions, B J Pate, D Hammon, T D Bunch and K L White
This study indicated that prolonged exposure of donor cell nuclei to oocyte cytoplasm before activation results in abnormal chromatin morphology, and reduced development to compacted morula/blastocyst stage in vitro. However, after transfer of embryos to recipients, there was no difference in pregnancy rates throughout gestation. Chromatin morphology was evaluated for embryos held 2, 3, 4 and 5 h between fusion and activation. In embryos held 2 h, 15/17 (88.2%) embryos contained condensed chromosomes, while only 12/24 (50.0%) embryos held 3 h exhibited this characteristic. The proportion of embryos with elongated or fragmented chromosomes tended to increase with increased hold time. While 15/19 (78.9%) of embryos held 2 h developed a single pronucleus 6 h after activation, only 8/22 (36.4%) had one pronucleus after a 4-h hold. Embryos held 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0 h cleaved at rates of 207/281 (73.7%), 142/166 (85.5%), 655/912 (71.8%), 212/368 (57.6%), 406/667 (60.9%), 362/644 (56.2%) and 120/228 (52.6%) respectively. Further development to compacted morula/blastocyst stage occurred at rates of 78/281 (27.8%), 42/166 (25.3%), 264/912 (28.9%), 79/368 (21.5%), 99/667 (14.8%), 94/644 (14.6%) and 27/228 (11.8%) respectively. Embryos held less than 2.5 h between fusion and activation established pregnancies in 18/66 (27.3%) of recipients, while embryos held over 2.5 h established pregnancies at a rate of 17/57 (29.8%). This study indicates that holding bovine nuclear transfer embryos less than 2.5 h between fusion and activation results in improved nuclear morphology and increased development to compacted morula/blastocyst stage, and results in pregnancy rates equivalent to embryos held over 2.5 h.