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Rhianna M Wallace, Ky G Pohler, Michael F Smith, and Jonathan A Green

Pregnancy-associated glycoproteins (PAGs) are abundantly expressed products of the placenta of species within the Cetartiodactyla order (even-toed ungulates). They are restricted to this order and they are particularly numerous in the Bovidae. The PAGs exhibit a range of temporal and spatial expression patterns by the placental trophoblasts and probably represent a group of related proteins that perform a range of distinct functions in the epitheliochorial and synepitheliochorial placental forms. This review presents an overview of the origins of the PAGs, a summary of PAG expression patterns, and their use as markers of pregnancy status. Speculations about their putative role(s) in pregnancy are also presented.

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Felipe A. C. C. Silva, Thiago Martins, Mariana Sponchiado, Cecilia C. Rocha, Nadia Ashrafi, Stewart F. Graham, Ky Pohler, Francisco Peñagaricano, Angela Gonella-Diaza, and Mario Binelli

In cattle, the concentration of sex steroids modulates uterine function, which is reflected in the composition of the luminal metabolome. Ultimately, the uterine luminal metabolome influences embryonic growth and development. Our objectives were (1) to compare the luminal metabolome 4, 7, and 14 days after estrus of cows that were exposed to greater (HP4; n = 16) vs. lower (LP4; n = 24) concentrations of progesterone before displaying estrus and ovulating spontaneously and (2) to identify changes in the luminal concentration of metabolites across these time points. Luminal epithelial cells and fluid were collected using a cytology brush and gene expression and metabolite concentrations were assessed by RNAseq and targeted mass spectrometry, respectively. Metabolome profile was similar between treatments within each of days 4, 7, and 14 (FDR ≥ 0.1). Concentrations of 53 metabolites changed, independent of treatment, across the diestrus. Metabolites were mostly lipids (40 out 53) and the greatest concentrations were at d 14 (FDR ≤ 0.1). On d 7, the concentration of putrescine and the gene expression of ODC1, PAOX, SLC3A2, and SAT1 increased (P ≤ 0.05). On d 14, the concentration of three ceramides, four glucosylceramides, and 12 sphingomyelins and the expression of SGMS2 were increased, in addition to the concentration of choline and 20 phosphatidylcholines. Collectively, the post-estrus concentration of luminal metabolites changed dynamically, independent of the concentration of sex steroids on the previous cycle, and the greatest magnitude changes were on day 14, when lipid metabolism was the most enriched pathway.

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Zachary K Seekford, Dylan B Davis, Mackenzie J. Dickson, Lucas Melo Goncalves, Samir Burato, Matthew P. Holton, Julie Gordon, Ky G. Pohler, G. Cliff Lamb, Timothy D. Pringle, Robert L. Stewart, Maria S. Ferrer, Pedro Fontes, and John J Bromfield

Bulls used in cattle production are often overfed to induce rapid growth, early puberty and increase sale price. While the negative consequences of undernutrition on bull sperm quality are known, it is unclear how a high gain diet influences embryo development. We hypothesized that semen collected from bulls fed a high gain diet would have a reduced capacity to produce blastocysts following in vitro fertilization. Eight mature bulls were stratified by body weight and fed the same diet for 67 d at either a maintenance level (0.5% body weight per day; n = 4) or a high gain rate (1.25% body weight per day; n = 4). Semen was collected by electroejaculation at the end of the feeding regimen and subjected to sperm analysis, frozen, and used for in vitro fertilization. The high gain diet increased body weight, average daily gain, and subcutaneous fat thickness compared to the maintenance diet. Sperm of high gain bulls tended to have increased early necrosis and had increased post-thaw acrosome damage compared with maintenance bulls, but diet did not affect sperm motility or morphology. Semen of high gain bulls reduced the percentage of cleaved oocytes that developed to blastocyst stage embryos. Paternal diet had no effect on the number of total or CDX2 positive cells of blastocysts, or blastocysts gene expression for markers associated with developmental capacity. Feeding bulls a high gain diet did not affect sperm morphology or motility, but increased adiposity and reduced the ability of sperm to generate blastocyst stage embryos.