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Pritpal S Malhi, Gregg P Adams, Reuben J Mapletoft, and Jaswant Singh

The study was designed to test the hypothesis that aging in cattle is associated with reduced developmental competence of oocytes. The hypothesis was tested by comparing embryo production and pregnancy rates between 13- to 16-year-old cows (n = 6 in Year 1 and n = 9 in Year 2) and their 3- to 6-year-old young daughters (n = 8 in Year 1 and n = 9 in Year 2) after superovulation and transfer of embryos into an unrelated group of young recipients. Embryos were transferred into 2- to 5-year-old recipient cows (n = 99) as singletons (n = 45) or in pairs (n = 54 pairs). Embryo survival in recipients was determined by ultrasonography and by the number of calves born. Between old versus young cows, the number of ovulations (31 ± 4 vs 38 ± 3; P = 0.2) and the number of corpora lutea (25 ± 3 vs 29 ± 2; P = 0.3) did not differ, but fewer (P = 0.04) embryos were recovered from old cows (6 ± 2) than their daughters (12 ± 2). A higher proportion (P < 0.0001) of unfertilized oocytes/uncleaved zygotes were recovered from old cows (222/312, 71%) than their daughters (119/316, 38%). Among the embryos recovered, the proportion of International Embryo Transfer Society Grades 1–2 embryos was similar (P = 0.9) between old (59/90, 66%) and young cows (130/194, 67%). The survival of embryos after transfer into recipients, and the proportion of calves born were also similar between old and young cows. In conclusion, recovery of fewer embryos and a greater proportion of unfertilized oocytes/uncleaved zygotes suggest reduced developmental competence of oocytes from old cows, but there was no difference between age groups in embryo survival after the morula/blastocyst stage.

Free access

Daulat Raheem Khan, Éric Fournier, Isabelle Dufort, François J Richard, Jaswant Singh, and Marc-André Sirard


Folliculogenesis involves coordinated profound changes in different follicular compartments and significant modifications of their gene expression patterns, particularly in granulosa cells. Huge datasets have accumulated from the analyses of granulosa cell transcriptomic signatures in predefined physiological contexts using different technological platforms. However, no comprehensive overview of folliculogenesis is available. This would require integration of datasets from numerous individual studies. A prerequisite for such integration would be the use of comparable platforms and experimental conditions. The EmbryoGENE program was created to study bovine granulosa cell transcriptomics under different physiological conditions using the same platform. Based on the data thus generated so far, we present here an interactive web interface called GranulosaIMAGE (Integrative Meta-Analysis of Gene Expression), which provides dynamic expression profiles of any gene of interest and all isoforms thereof in granulosa cells at different stages of folliculogenesis. GranulosaIMAGE features two kinds of expression profiles: gene expression kinetics during bovine folliculogenesis from small (6 mm) to pre-ovulatory follicles under different hormonal and physiological conditions and expression profiles of granulosa cells of dominant follicles from post-partum cows in different metabolic states. This article provides selected examples of expression patterns along with suggestions for users to access and generate their own patterns using GranulosaIMAGE. The possibility of analysing gene expression dynamics during the late stages of folliculogenesis in a mono-ovulatory species such as bovine should provide a new and enriched perspective on ovarian physiology.

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Rodrigo A Carrasco, Sergio Pezo, Eric M Zwiefelhofer, Emily E Lanigan, Jaswant Singh, Marco A Berland, Cesar Ulloa-Leal, Marcelo H Ratto, and Gregg P Adams

In brief

Seminal nerve growth factor induces ovulation in camelids by influencing the secretion of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) into the portal vessels of the pituitary gland. We show that the nerve growth factor-induced release of GnRH is not mediated directly through interaction with hypothalamic neurons.


Ovulation in camelids is triggered by seminal nerve growth factor (NGF). The mechanism of action of NGF appears to occur via the central nervous system. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that NGF acts in the hypothalamus to induce GnRH release. To determine if NGF-induced ovulation is associated with a rise in NGF concentrations in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), llamas were i) mated with an urethrostomized male, ii) mated with intact male, or given intrauterine iii) seminal plasma or i.v.) saline (Experiment 1). To characterize the luteinizing hormone (LH) response after central vs peripheral administration, llamas were treated with saline (negative control) or NGF either by i.v. or intracerebroventricular (ICV) administration (Experiment 2). To determine the role of kisspeptin, the effect of ICV infusion of a kisspeptin receptor antagonist on NGF-induced LH secretion and ovulation was tested in llamas (Experiment 3). In Experiment 1, a surge in circulating concentrations of LH was detected only in llamas mated with an intact male and those given intrauterine seminal plasma, but no changes in CSF concentrations of NGF were detected. In Experiment 2, peripheral administration (i.v.) of NGF induced an LH surge and ovulation, whereas no response was detected after central (ICV) administration. In Experiment 3, the kisspeptin receptor antagonist had no effect on the LH response to NGF. In conclusion, results did not support the hypothesis that NGF-induced ovulation is mediated via a trans-synaptic pathway within the hypothalamus, but rather through a releasing effect on tanycytes at the median eminence.