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Eve Touzard, Pierrette Reinaud, Olivier Dubois, Catherine Guyader-Joly, Patrice Humblot, Claire Ponsart and Gilles Charpigny

Pregnancy-associated glycoproteins (PAGs) constitute a multigenic family of aspartic proteinases expressed in the trophoblast of the ruminant placenta. In Bos taurus, this family comprises 21 members segregated into ancient and modern phylogenetic groups. Ancient PAGs have been reported to be synthesized throughout the trophoblastic cell layer whereas modern PAGs are produced by binucleate cells of cotyledons. The aim of this study was to investigate modern and ancient PAGs during gestation in cotyledonary and intercotyledonary tissues. To obtain convincing and innovative results despite the high sequence identity shared between PAGs, we designed specific tools such as amplification primers and antibodies. Using real-time RT-PCR, we described the transcript expression of 16 bovine PAGs. Overall, PAGs are characterized by an increase in their expression during gestation. However, we demonstrated a segregation of modern PAGs in cotyledons and of ancient PAGs in the intercotyledonary chorion, except for the ancient PAG2 expressed in cotyledons. By raising specific antibodies against the modern PAG1 and ancient PAG11 and PAG2, we established the expression kinetics of the proteins using western blotting. Immunohistochemistry showed that PAGs were produced by specific cellular populations: PAG1 by binucleate cells in the whole trophoblastic layer, PAG11 was localized in binucleate cells of the intercotyledonary trophoblast and the chorionic plate of the cotyledon, while PAG2 was produced in mononucleate cells of the internal villi of the cotyledon. These results revealed a highly specific regulation of PAG expression and cell localization as a function of their phylogenetic status, suggesting distinct biological functions within placental tissues.

Free access

Xavier Druart, Jean-Luc Gatti, Sylvie Huet, Jean-Louis Dacheux and Patrice Humblot

Hypotonic resistance of boar spermatozoa was investigated by measuring the ratio of live/dead spermatozoa (SYBR-14/propidium iodide) by flow cytometry after hypotonic stress. The survival rate of ejaculated spermatozoa incubated in hypotonic solutions ranging from 3 to 330 mmol/kg followed a sigmoid curve that fitted a simple logistic model. The critical osmolality value (Osmcrit) at which 50% of spermatozoa died was determined with this model. Hypotonic resistance of spermatozoa increased with temperature between 15 and 39 °C and decreased after hydrogen superoxide treatment, but was not modified during 8 days of preservation in Beltsville thawing solution. Hypotonic resistance markedly decreased during epididymal maturation and after ejaculation as Osmcrit at 15 °C was 54.7±3.2, 68.5±10.6, 116.7±2.1 and 194.3±3.7 mmol/kg for the caput, corpus, cauda and ejaculated spermatozoa respectively. Hypo-osmotic stress of 100 mmol/kg revealed a sperm subpopulation exhibiting increased hypotonic resistance compared with the whole ejaculate (Osmcrit=67.8±2.1 mmol/kg). Consistent differences were observed between lean and standard breeds (Pietrain versus Large White) and between boars within the same breed. According to data collected by artificial insemination centers during a large-scale field trial, hypotonic resistance of ejaculates was found to be positively correlated with in vivo fertility.

Open access

Gonçalo Pereira, Ricardo Bexiga, João Chagas e Silva, Elisabete Silva, Christelle Ramé, Joëlle Dupont, Yongzhi Guo, Patrice Humblot and Luís Lopes-da-Costa

Adipokines emerged as regulators of metabolism and inflammation in several scenarios. This study evaluated the relationship between adipokines (adiponectin, chemerin and visfatin) and cytological (subclinical) endometritis, by comparing healthy (without), transient (recovered by 45 days postpartum (DPP)) and persistent (until 45 DPP) endometritis cows (n = 49). Cows with persistent endometritis had higher adiponectin concentrations in plasma (at 21 DPP, P < 0.05 and at 45 DPP, P < 0.01) and in uterine fluid (at 45 DPP, P < 0.001), and higher chemerin concentrations in plasma (P < 0.05) and uterine fluid (P < 0.01) at 45 DPP than healthy cows. Cows with persistent endometritis had higher gene transcription in the cellular pellet of uterine fluid and protein expression in the endometrium of these adipokines and their receptors than healthy cows. Adiponectin plasma concentrations allowed to discriminate healthy from persistent endometritis cows, in 87% (21 DPP) and 98% (45 DPP) of cases, and adiponectin and chemerin uterine fluid concentrations at 45 DPP allowed for this discrimination in 100% of cases. Cows with concentrations above the cutoff were a minimum of 3.5 (plasma 21 DPP), 20.4 (plasma 45 DPP), and 33.3 (uterine fluid 45 DPP) times more at risk of evidencing persistent endometritis at 45 DPP than cows with concentrations below the cutoff. Overall, results indicate a relationship between adipokine signalling and the inflammatory status of the postpartum uterus of dairy cows, evidencing that adipokines represent suitable biomarkers of subclinical endometritis, able to predict the risk of persistence of inflammation.