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Fengyin Li, Yong Tao, Yunhai Zhang, Yunsheng Li, Fugui Fang, Ya Liu, Hongguo Cao, Xiaorong Zhang, and Shixian Zhou

Ovary grafting is not only a method of investigating follicle and oocyte development, but also a useful model to explore the possibility of the re-establishment of the reproductive axis in male-to-female sexual reversal. This study investigated ovary survival and follicle development after mouse ovaries were transplanted into immune-intact castrated male mice. Ten-day-old mouse ovaries were transplanted into the back muscle of adult outbred castrated male mice treated with immunosuppressants. Twenty-two days later, the ovary structure and the number of follicles present was examined by hematoxylin and eosin staining. The oocytes were harvested, and then used for in vitro maturation (IVM) and IVF. The results showed that primordial and antral follicles were mainly found in the grafts, and there were obvious differences compared with 32-day-old fresh ovaries (P<0.05). Embryos were derived from collected oocytes after IVM and IVF with a 72.4% cleavage rate and 7.9% blastocyst rate; 12 live pups were generated by embryo transfer. The hormone assay showed that plasma concentrations of both estrogen and progesterone increased after ovarian transplantation (P<0.01). In conclusion, immune-intact adult castrated male mice can support ovary survival and further development of follicles with endocrine function after ovarian transplantation.

Free access

Qingfeng Liu, Junmei Liu, Liujiao Yuan, Lu Li, Min Tao, Chun Zhang, Qinbo Qin, Bo Chen, Ming Ma, Chenchen Tang, and Shaojun Liu

Distant hybridization refers to the cross between two different species or higher-ranking taxa. It is very significant if the new lineages with genetic variation, fertile ability, and improved characteristics can be established through distant hybridization. However, reproductive barriers are key limitations that must be overcome to establish fertile lineages derived from distant hybridization. In the present review, we discussed how distant hybridization is an important way to form new species by overcoming reproductive barriers and summarized effective measures to overcome reproductive barriers in order to create fertile lineages of fish distant hybridization. In addition, we described the utilization of the fish lineages derived from distant hybridization. Finally, we discussed the relationship between distant hybridization and Mendel’s laws, which generally apply to the inbred hybridization. We aim to provide a comprehensive reference for the establishment of fertile fish lineages by overcoming reproductive barriers and to emphasize the significance of fish distant hybridization in the fields of evolutionary biology, reproductive biology, and genetic breeding.

Free access

Naihong Yan, Yilu Lu, Huaqin Sun, Dachang Tao, Sizhong Zhang, Wenying Liu, and Yongxin Ma

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNA molecules playing regulatory roles by repressing translation or cleaving RNA transcripts. Recent studies indicate that miRNAs are mechanistically involved in the development of mammalian spermatogenesis. However, little work has been done to compare the miRNA expression patterns between immature and mature mouse testes. Here, we employed a miRNA microarray to detect 892 miRNAs in order to evaluate the expression patterns of miRNA. The expression of 19 miRNAs was significantly different between immature and mature individuals. Fourteen miRNAs were significantly upregulated and five miRNAs were downregulated in immature mice and this result was further confirmed by a quantitative real-time RT-PCR assay. Many target genes involved in spermatogenesis are predicted by MiRscan performing miRNA target scanning. Our data indicated specific miRNAs expression in immature mouse testis and suggested that miRNAs have a role in regulating spermatogenesis.

Free access

Qiao-Qiao Kong, Guo-Liang Wang, Jin-Song An, Jia Wang, Hao Cheng, Tao Liu, and Jing-He Tan

Postovulatory oocyte aging is one of the major causes for human early pregnancy loss and for a decline in the population of some mammalian species. Thus, the mechanisms for oocyte aging are worth exploring. While it is known that ovulated oocytes age within the oviduct and that female stresses impair embryo development by inducing apoptosis of oviductal cells, it is unknown whether the oviduct and/or female stress would affect postovulatory oocyte aging. By comparing aging characteristics, including activation susceptibility, maturation-promoting factor activity, developmental potential, cytoplasmic fragmentation, spindle/chromosome morphology, gene expression, and cumulus cell apoptosis, this study showed that oocytes aged faster in vivo in restraint-stressed mice than in unstressed mice than in vitro. Our further analysis demonstrated that oviductal cells underwent apoptosis with decreased production of growth factors with increasing time after ovulation, and female restraint facilitated apoptosis of oviductal cells. Furthermore, mating prevented apoptosis of oviductal cells and alleviated oocyte aging after ovulation. In conclusion, the results demonstrated that mouse oviducts underwent apoptosis and facilitated oocyte aging after ovulation; female restraint facilitated oocyte aging while enhancing apoptosis of oviductal cells; and copulation ameliorated oviductal apoptosis and oocyte aging.

Restricted access

Changle Zhao, Zeming Zhang, Ximei Qu, Xiaoming Bai, Xingyong Liu, Wenjing Tao, Linyan Zhou, Deshou Wang, and Jing Wei

Desert hedgehog (DHH) signaling has been reported to be involved in spermatogenesis and the self-renewal of spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs). However, the role of DHH in proliferation of spermatogonia including SSCs remains to be elucidated. Here, we report that Dhh from medaka (Oryizas latipes) (named as OlDhh) could directly mediate the proliferation of spermatogonia via Smoothened (Smo) signaling. Oldhh is 1362 bp in length and encodes 453 amino acid (aa) residues with more than 50% identity with the homologs in other species. It has expression predominantly restricted to testis. The soluble and tag-free 176-aa mature OlDhh (named as mOlDhh) were successfully obtained by fusing with the N-terminal tag of cleavable 6-histidine and small ubiquitin-related modifier and then removing the tag. Notably, mOlDhh significantly promoted the proliferation of SG3 (a spermatogonial stem cell line from medaka testis) in a dose-dependent manner and spermatogonia in testicular organ culture. Furthermore, the proliferation of SG3 in the presence of mOlDhh could be inhibited by Smo antagonist (cyclopamine) resulting in apoptosis. Additionally, mOlDhh significantly upregulated the expression of smo as well as the pluripotent-related genes bcl6b and sall4. These data suggest that Smo is an indispensable downstream component in the Dhh signaling pathway. In conclusion, our findings unambiguously demonstrate that Dhh could directly mediate the proliferation of spermatogonia through Smo signaling. This study provides new knowledge about the proliferation regulation of spermatogonia.

Free access

Songcun Wang, Fengrun Sun, Mutian Han, Yinghua Liu, Qinyan Zou, Fuxin Wang, Yu Tao, Dajin Li, Meirong Du, Hong Li, and Rui Zhu

There is delicate crosstalk between fetus-derived trophoblasts (Tros) and maternal cells during normal pregnancy. Dysfunctions in interaction are highly linked to some pregnancy complications, such as recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA), pre-eclampsia and fetal growth restriction. Hyaluronan (HA), the most abundant component of extracellular matrix, has been reported to act as both a pro- and an anti-inflammatory molecule. Previously, we reported that HA promotes the invasion and proliferation of Tros by activating PI3K/Akt and MAPK/ERK1/2 signaling pathways. While lower HA secretion by Tros was observed during miscarriages than that during normal pregnancies, in the present study, we further confirmed that higher secretion of HA by Tros could induce M2 polarization of macrophages at the maternal–fetal interface by interacting with CD44 and activating the downstream PI3K/Akt-STAT-3/STAT-6 signaling pathways. Furthermore, HA could restore the production of IL-10 and other normal pregnancy markers by decidual macrophages (dMφs) from RSA. These findings underline the important roles of HA in regulating the function of dMφs and maintaining a normal pregnancy.

Free access

Yu-Xiang Liang, Wei Hu, Zhi-Yong Jin, Hong-Lu Diao, Li Liu, Yan Yang, Tao Fu, and Zeng-Ming Yang

Embryo implantation and decidualization are crucial steps during early pregnancy. We recently showed that nucleolar stress is involved in embryo implantation. This study was to explore whether nucleolar stress participates in mouse and human decidualization. Our data demonstrated that a low dose of actinomycin D (ActD) could induce nucleolar stress in stroma cells. Nucleolar stress promotes the stromal-epithelial transition during mouse in vitro decidualization through nucleophosmin1 (NPM1). Under nucleolar stress, Wnt family member 4 (Wnt4), a decidualization marker, is significantly increased, but decidua/trophoblast prolactin-related protein (Dtprp/Prl8a2) expression remains unchanged. For translational significance, we also examined the effects of nucleolar stress on human decidualization. Nucleolar stress stimulated by a low dose of ActD enhances human stromal–epithelial transition during human decidualization, but has no effects on the expression of insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 1 (IGFBP1). Our study indicates that nucleolar stress may promote only the mesenchymal–epithelial transition (MET), but not for all the molecular changes during decidualization.

Free access

Xiao-yu Yang, Hua Li, Qing-wen Ma, Jing-bin Yan, Jiang-guo Zhao, Hua-wei Li, Hai-qing Shen, Hai-feng Liu, Ying Huang, Shu-Zhen Huang, Yi-Tao Zeng, and Fanyi Zeng

Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) has been used for the cloning of various mammals. However, the rates of successful, healthy birth are generally poor. To improve cloning efficiency, we report the utilization of an ‘autologous SCNT’ cloning technique in which the somatic nucleus of a female bovine donor is transferred to its own enucleated oocyte recovered by ovum pick up, in contrast to the routine ‘allogeneic SCNT’ procedure using oocytes from unrelated females. Our results showed that embryos derived from autologous SCNThave significantly higher developmental competence than those derived from allogeneic SCNT, especiallyat the eight-cell (60 vs 44%), morula (45 vs 36%), and blastocyst (38 vs 23%) stages. The pregnancy and birth rates were also higher for the autologous (39 and 23%), compared to the allogeneic (22 and 6%) SCNT groups. Genome-wide histone3-lysine9 methylation profiles reveal that autologous SCNTembryos have less epigenetic defects than the allogeneic SCNTembryos. This study indicates that autologous SCNT can improve the efficiency of bovine cloning with less reprogramming deficiency.

Free access

Shengxian Li, Jia Qi, Yongzhen Tao, Qinling Zhu, Rong Huang, Yu Liao, Jiang Yue, Wei Liu, Hanting Zhao, Huiyong Yin, and Yun Sun

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder in reproductive-age women usually accompanied by lipid metabolic disorders. However, it remains unknown whether arachidonic acid (AA) and its metabolites in follicular fluid (FF) were altered in PCOS patients. This study was intended to measure the levels of AA and its metabolites in the FF of non-obese PCOS patients that underwent in vitro fertilization (IVF) and to explore the possible causes of the alterations. Thirty-nine non-obese women with PCOS and 30 non-obese women without PCOS were enrolled. AA and its metabolites were measured by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. The levels of AA metabolites generated via cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) pathway and cytochrome P450 epoxygenase pathway but not lipoxygenase (LOX) pathway were significantly higher in the FF of PCOS patients. The metabolites generated via COX-2 pathway were significantly correlated with levels of testosterone and fasting insulin in serum. The in vitro study further demonstrated that insulin but not testosterone could promote the IL-1β and hCG-induced COX-2 expression and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) secretion in primary human granulosa cells. In conclusion, there was an elevation in AA metabolites in FF of PCOS patients. Insulin played a pivotal role in the increased AA metabolites generated via COX-2, which could be interpreted as another novel molecular pathophysiological mechanism of PCOS.

Open access

Guangdong Li, Xiuzhi Tian, Dongying Lv, Lu Zhang, Zhenzhen Zhang, Jing Wang, Minghui Yang, Jingli Tao, Teng Ma, Hao Wu, Pengyun Ji, Yingjie Wu, Zhengxing Lian, Wei Cui, and Guoshi Liu

NLRP (NACHT, LRR and PYD domain-containing proteins) family plays pivotal roles in mammalian reproduction. Mutation of NLRP7 is often associated with human recurrent hydatidiform moles. Few studies regarding the functions of NLRP7 have been performed in other mammalian species rather than humans. In the current study, for the first time, the function of NLRP7 has been explored in ovine ovary. NLRP7 protein was mainly located in ovarian follicles and in in vitro pre-implantation embryos. To identify its origin, 763 bp partial CDS of NLRP7 deriving from sheep cumulus oocyte complexes (COCs) was cloned, it showed a great homology with Homo sapiens. The high levels of mRNA and protein of NLRP7 were steadily expressed in oocytes, parthenogenetic embryos or IVF embryos. NLRP7 knockdown by the combination of siRNA and shRNA jeopardized both the parthenogenetic and IVF embryo development. These results strongly suggest that NLRP7 plays an important role in ovine reproduction. The potential mechanisms of NLRP7 will be fully investigated in the future.