Changes in the relative abundance of mRNA transcripts for insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I and IGF-II) ligands and their receptors (IGF-IR/IGF-IIR) in preimplantation bovine embryos derived from different in vitro systems
The aim of this study was to determine the relative abundance of mRNAs for the insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) and IGF-II ligands, and for the IGF receptors (IGF-IR and IGF-IIR) in in vitro preimplantation bovine embryos from the oocyte to the hatched blastocyst stage using two different culture systems: TCM-199 supplemented with oestrous cow serum, or synthetic oviduct fluid supplemented with polyvinyl alcohol. Development to the two- to four-cell stage and blastocyst stage was significantly higher (P < or = 0.05) in embryos cultured in TCM supplemented with oestrous cow serum than in those cultured in synthetic oviduct fluid supplemented with polyvinyl alcohol (61 and 25% versus 55 and 17%, respectively). A semi-quantitative RT-PCR assay did not detect IGF-I transcripts at any stage of preimplantation bovine development, including the hatched blastocyst stage. In both culture systems, IGF-IR, IGF-II and IGF-IIR were expressed throughout preimplantation development up to the hatched blastocyst stage in a varying pattern. The expression patterns of IGF-IR, IGF-II and IGF-IIR in embryos generated in the two culture systems were not significantly different, except at the expanded blastocyst stage, at which significantly higher amounts of IGF-IIR were observed in the TCM system than in the synthetic oviduct fluid system. These results indicate that transcripts of IGF-IR and IGF-IIR follow the standard pattern in which maternal stores of mRNA in the oocyte are slowly depleted up to the 16-cell stage and then re-established at the onset of embryonic expression of these genes. The lack of detectable IGF-I transcripts in the bovine embryo indicates a predominantly paracrine mode of action. The bovine embryo is capable of producing IGF-II, IGF-IIR and IGF-IR in large amounts, particularly after hatching, which may be important for the formation of the filamentous conceptus. Results indicate an autocrine mechanism for IGF-II and modulation of IGF family expression by culture conditions.
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