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  • Author: Paulo Bayard Gonçalves x
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Paulo Bayard Gonçalves, Rogério Ferreira, Bernardo Gasperin and João Francisco Oliveira

Angiotensin (Ang) II is widely known for its role in the control of systemic blood vessels. Moreover, Ang II acts on the vascular control of ovarian function, corpus luteum formation, and luteolysis. Over the past 10 years, our research group has been studying the new concept of the renin–angiotensin system (RAS) as an autocrine/paracrine factor regulating steroidogenesis and promoting different cellular responses in the ovary, beyond vascular function. We have developed and used different in vivo and in vitro experimental models to study the role of RAS in the ovary and a brief overview of our findings is presented here. It is widely accepted that there are marked species differences in RAS function in follicle development. Examples of species-specific functions of the RAS in the ovary include the involvement of Ang II in the regulation of follicle atresia in rats vs the requirement of this peptide for the dominant follicle development and ovulation in rabbits and cattle. More recently, Ang-(1–7), its receptor, and enzymes for its synthesis (ACE2, NEP, and PEP) were identified in bovine follicles, implying that Ang-(1–7) has an ovarian function. Other novel RAS components (e.g. (pro)renin receptor and renin-binding protein) recently identified in the bovine ovary show that ovarian RAS is poorly understood and more complex than previously thought. In the present review, we have highlighted the progress toward understanding the paracrine and autocrine control of ovarian antral follicle development and ovulation by ovarian tissue RAS, focusing on in vivo studies using cattle as a model.

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Rogério Ferreira, João Francisco Oliveira, Rafael Fernandes, José Ferrugem Moraes and Paulo Bayard Gonçalves

There is evidence that the renin–angiotensin system plays an important role in ovulation in cattle. Using an in vivo model, we investigated the role of angiotensin (Ang) II in bovine ovulation by injecting Ang II receptor antagonists into ovulatory follicles. Animals (n = 102) were pre-synchronized and, when the follicles reached 12 mm, they were given the respective treatment and the cows received GnRH agonist (i.m.) to induce ovulation. The ovulation rate was significantly lower when 100 μ M saralasin (Ang II receptor antagonist) was intrafollicularly injected (14.3%) in comparison with saline solution (83.3%). Based on these results, a second experiment was carried out to determine the timing of Ang II’s critical role in ovulation. Saralasin inhibited ovulation only when applied at 0 and 6 h (16.7 and 42.9% ovulation rate in the 0- and 6-h groups respectively), but not at 12 h (100%) following GnRH agonist treatment. To investigate the subtypes of Ang II receptors implicated in the LH-induced ovulation, losartan (LO; AT1-Ang II receptor antagonist), PD123 319 (AT2-Ang II receptor antagonist), LO+PD123 319, or saline were intrafollicularly injected when the cows were challenged with GnRH agonist. Ovulation was inhibited by PD123 319 and LO+PD123 319 (50.0 and 33.3% on ovulation rate respectively), but not by LO or saline solution (100% ovulation in both groups). From these results, we suggest that Ang II plays a pivotal role in the early mechanism of bovine ovulation via the AT2 receptor subtype.

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Gustavo Freitas Ilha, Monique T Rovani, Bernardo G Gasperin, Alfredo Quites Antoniazzi, Paulo Bayard Dias Gonçalves, Vilceu Bordignon and Raj Duggavathi

Subordinate follicles (SFs) of bovine follicular waves undergo atresia due to declining FSH concentrations; however, the signalling mechanisms have not been fully deciphered. We used an FSH-induced co-dominance model to determine the effect of FSH on signalling pathways in granulosa cells of the second-largest follicles (SF in control cows and co-dominant follicle (co-DF2) in FSH-treated cows). The SF was smaller than DF in control cows while diameters of co-DF1 and co-DF2 in FSH-treated cows were similar. The presence of cleaved CASP3 protein confirmed that granulosa cells of SFs, but not of DFs and co-DFs, were apoptotic. To determine the effect of FSH on molecular characteristics of the second-largest follicles, we generated relative variables for the second largest follicle in each cow. For this, variables of SF or co-DF2 were divided by the variables of the largest follicle DF or co-DF1 in each cow. There was higher transcript abundance of MAPK1/3 and AKT1/2/3 but lower abundance of phosphorylated MAPK3/1 in SF than co-DF2 granulosa cells. Abundance of mRNA and phosphorylated protein of STAT3 was higher in granulosa cells of control SF than FSH-treated co-DF2. SF granulosa cells had higher levels of LIFR and IL6ST transcripts, the two receptors involved in STAT3 activation. Further, lower transcript abundance of interleukin 6 receptor (IL6R), another receptor involved in STAT3 activation, indicated that STAT3 activation in SF granulosa cells could be mainly due to leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) signalling. These results indicate that atresia due to lack of FSH is associated with activated LIF–STAT3 signalling in SF granulosa cells, as FSH treatment reversed such activation.

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Bernardo G Gasperin, Rogério Ferreira, Monique T Rovani, Joabel T Santos, José Buratini, Christopher A Price and Paulo Bayard D Gonçalves

Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) are involved in paracrine control of follicle development. It was previously demonstrated that FGF10 decreases estradiol (E2) secretion in granulosa cell culture and that theca cell FGF10 mRNA expression is decreased in healthy follicles from abattoir ovaries. The main objectives of this study were to evaluate FGF10 and FGFR2b mRNA expression during follicular development in vivo, to evaluate the effect of FGF10 on follicle growth using Bos taurus taurus cows as a model, and to gain more insight into the mechanisms through which FGF10 inhibits steroidogenesis. Messenger RNA encoding both FGF10 and FGFR2b (main FGF10 receptor) was significantly more expressed in subordinate follicles (SFs) than in dominant follicles (DFs). The intrafollicular injection of FGF10 into the largest growing follicle at 7–8 mm in diameter interrupted the DF growth in a dose-dependent manner (11±0.4, 8.3±1 and 5.9±0.3 mm for 0, 0.1, and 1 μg/ml FGF10, respectively, at 72 h after treatment; P<0.05). In a third experiment, follicles were obtained 24 h after FGF10 (1 μg/ml) or PBS treatment through ovariectomy. In theca cells, FGF10 treatment did not affect mRNA encoding steroidogenic enzymes, LHCGR and IGFBPs, but significantly upregulated FGF10 mRNA expression. The expression of CYP19A1 mRNA in granulosa cells was downregulated by FGF10 treatment, which was accompanied by a 50-fold decrease in E2 production, and decreased cyclin D2 mRNA. These results have shown that FGF10 and its receptor FGFR2b are more expressed in SFs and provide solid in vivo evidence that FGF10 acts as an important regulator of follicular growth in cattle.

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Marcos H Barreta, João Francisco C Oliveira, Rogério Ferreira, Alfredo Q Antoniazzi, Bernardo G Gasperin, Luciano R Sandri and Paulo Bayard D Gonçalves

Angiotensin II (AngII) prevents the inhibitory effect of follicular cells on oocyte maturation, but its involvement in LH-induced meiotic resumption remains unknown. The aim of this study was to assess the involvement of AngII in LH-induced meiotic resumption and of prostaglandins (PGs) in the action of AngII. In the experiment I, seven cows were superovulated, intrafollicularly injected with 10 μM saralasin (a competitive AngII antagonist) or saline when the follicles reached a diameter larger than 12 mm, and challenged with a GnRH agonist to induce an LH surge. Fifteen hours after GnRH, the animals were ovariectomized and the oocytes were recovered to determine the stage of meiosis. The oocytes from follicles that received saline were in germinal vesicle (GV) breakdown (30.8%) or metaphase I (MI; 69.2%) stage while those that received saralasin were in the GV stage (100%; P<0.001) 15 h after GnRH agonist. In another experiment, oocytes were co-cultured with follicular hemisections for 15 h to determine whether PGs mediate the effect of AngII on meiotic resumption. Indomethacin (10 μM) inhibited AngII-induced meiotic resumption (13.4 vs 77.5% MI without indomethacin; P<0.001). Furthermore, the GV oocytes progressed to MI at a similar rate when PGE2, PGF or AngII was present in the co-culture system with follicular cells (PGE2 77.4%, PGF 70.0%, and AngII 75.0% MI). In conclusion, our results provide strong evidence that AngII mediates the resumption of meiosis induced by an LH surge in bovine oocytes and that this event is dependent on PGE2 or PGF produced by follicular cells.

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Vitor Braga Rissi, Werner Giehl Glanzner, Mariana Priotto de Macedo, Lady Katerine Serrano Mujica, Karine Campagnolo, Karina Gutierrez, Alessandra Bridi, Hernan Baldassarre, Paulo Bayard Dias Gonçalves and Vilceu Bordignon

Insufficient epigenetic reprogramming is incompatible with normal development of embryos produced by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), but treatment with histone deacetylases inhibitors (HDACi) enhances development of SCNT embryos. However, the mechanisms underpinning HDACi benefits in SCNT embryos remain largely uncharacterized. We hypothesized that, in addition to enhancing reprogramming, HDACi treatment may promote expression of genes not required for early development of SCNT embryos. To test this hypothesis, RNA synthesis was inhibited by treating bovine SCNT embryos with 5,6-dichlorobenzimidazole 1-β-D-ribofuranoside (DBR), which were concomitantly treated or not with Scriptaid (Scrip; an HDACi). Development to the blastocyst stage was significantly increased by treatment with Scrip alone (26.6%) or associated with DRB (28.6%) compared to Control (17.9%). The total number of nuclei was significantly improved only in embryos that were treated with both Scrip + DRB. Nuclear decondensation after SCNT was significantly increased by DRB treatment either alone or associated with Scrip. The relative mRNA expression, evaluated during the embryo genome activation (EGA) transition, revealed that some KDMs (KDM1A, KDM3A, KDM4C and KDM6A) and DNMT1 where prematurely expressed in Scrip-treated embryos. However, treatment with Scrip + DRB inhibited early mRNA expression of those genes, as well as several other KDMs (KDM4A, KDM4B, KDM5A, KDM5B, KDM5C and KDM7A) compared to embryos treated with Scrip alone. These findings revealed that HDACi improved development in SCNT embryos compared to Control, but altered the expression of genes involved in epigenetic regulation and did not improve embryo quality. Inhibition of RNA synthesis during HDACi treatment enhanced nuclear chromatin decondensation, modulated gene expression and improved SCNT embryo quality.