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P. Carthew, M. Wood, and C. Kirby

Summary. Mouse embryos were cultured in vitro in medium with serum containing interferon which had been induced in vivo by intravenous administration of polyinosine-polycytidylic acid. Two-cell and blastocyst-stage embryos were incubated for 72 and 24 h respectively before embryo transfer, or fixation to determine cell number. Further, blastocysts were outgrown on coverslips in embryo culture medium with fetal calf serum and interferon. Expression of an intermediate filament protein (M r 55 000) in blastocyst outgrowths was examined with a monoclonal antibody. Embryos appeared morphologically normal and after treatment the mean cell number did not differ from that of controls. Implantation was unaffected by any of the treatments, but culture before transfer in medium containing mouse serum reduced the number of normal fetuses recovered on Day 14 of gestation compared to those cultured in medium without serum. Exposure to interferon did not modify the expression of filaments in the outgrown blastocyst. It is therefore unlikely that interferon induced by viral infection during pregnancy is responsible for preimplantation embryonic loss.

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P. Carthew, Maureen J. Wood, and Carol Kirby

Summary. Mouse embryos which were hatched from the zona pellucida in vitro in the presence of mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) or outgrown on coverslips and then exposed to MHV were shown by immunohistochemical staining to have virally infected trophoblast cells. Zona-intact embryos incubated with MHV for 48 h (2-cell embryos) or 1·5 h (blastocysts) were resistant to infection. Morulae and early blastocysts collected from donor mice experimentally infected with MHV were not infected, but the medium in which they were flushed from the uterine horns was contaminated with virus. No virus was detected after embryos were washed through three changes of uncontaminated medium. MHV was transmitted to foster mothers when embryos were transferred in medium contaminated with the virus. Fetal and decidual tissues were not infected. We suggest that embryo transfer is an effective and simple alternative to Caesarian rederivation of MHV-contaminated mice.

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P. Carthew, Maureen J. Wood, and Carol Kirby

Summary. Preimplantation embryos collected from mice in the acute phase of Sendai virus infection were not infected. Transfer of embryos from infected donors did not transmit the virus to the recipient foster mothers or to their progeny. The pregnancies were normal with no differences in implantation rate or number of live births when compared with control transfers of embryos collected from non-infected donors.