The aim of this study was to investigate, in unstimulated and superstimulated heifers, the effect of follicle aspiration just before ovulation on corpus luteum (CL) development, circulating progesterone (P4) concentrations and the ability of the uterus to support embryo development. Following follicle aspiration or ovulation timed from GNRH administration, CL development was assessed by daily ultrasonography, and CL function was assessed in terms of the capacity to produce P4 and the expression of genes involved in steroidogenesis in luteal tissue. The capacity of the uterine environment to support conceptus development was assessed following transfer and recovery of in vitro-produced embryos. Follicular aspiration just before the expected time of ovulation leads to a significant reduction in CL diameter, CL area and area of luteal tissue. This was associated with a decrease in circulating P4 in both unstimulated and superstimulated heifers. Follicle aspiration leads to a reduction in conceptus length and area on day 14 in unstimulated heifers only. Follicle aspiration leads to a reduction in the expression of LHCGR in luteal tissue from unstimulated heifers compared with those in which the CL formed after ovulation. Superstimulation significantly reduced the expression of STAR in luteal tissue in both ovulated and follicle-aspirated heifers. In conclusion, in stimulated and unstimulated heifers, aspiration of the preovulatory dominant follicle(s) just before expected ovulation interferes with the subsequent formation and function of the CL, in terms of size and P4 output and this, in turn, is associated with a reduced capacity of the uterus to support conceptus elongation in unstimulated heifers.
L O'Hara, S Scully, V Maillo, A K Kelly, P Duffy, F Carter, N Forde, D Rizos and P Lonergan
C A Rezende-Melo, A L Caldeira-Brant, A L Drumond-Bock, G M Buchold, G Shetty, F R C L Almeida, M M Matzuk, K Hara, S Yoshida, M L Meistrich and H Chiarini-Garcia
The existence of cytoplasmic passages between germ cells and their potential function in the control of the spermatogenic process has long been an intriguing question. Evidence of the important role of such structures, known as intercellular bridges (ICB), in spermatogenesis has been implicated by the failure of spermatogenesis in testis-expressed gene 14 (Tex14) mutant mice, which lack the ICBs, to progress past the pachytene spermatocyte stage. Using these Tex14 mutants, the present study evaluated, for the first time, the behavior and synchrony of the spermatogonial lineage in the absence of ICBs. Our data suggest that the absence of these cytoplasmic connections between cells affects the expansion of the undifferentiated type A (Aundiff) spermatogonia compartment and their transition to A1, resulting in a significant numerical reduction of differentiating A1 spermatogonia, but did not interfere with cell amplification during subsequent mitotic steps of differentiating spermatogonia from A1 through intermediate (In). However, beginning at the type B spermatogonia, the synchrony of differentiation was impaired as some cells showed delayed differentiation compared to their behavior in a normal seminiferous epithelium cycle. Thus although spermatogonial development is able to proceed, in the absence of ICBs in Tex14−/ − mutants, the yield of cells, specific steps of differentiation, the synchrony of the cell kinetics, and the subsequent progression in meiosis are quantitatively lower than normal.