Co-culture of mouse embryos with oviduct and uterine cells prepared from mice at different days of pseudopregnancy

in Reproduction

Summary. Oviduct and uterine cell cultures were prepared from mice at different days of pseudopregnancy and their effects on the development of 1- and 8-cell mouse embryos in co-culture were examined. One-cell mouse embryos in co-culture with oviduct cells from 20 h to 120 h after hCG had a mean (±s.e.) cell number of 70·1 ± 3·6, significantly (P < 0·001) higher compared with those cultured in Whittingham's T6 medium supplemented with 5% fetal calf serum (T6 + 5% FCS) (30·4 ± 1·6). Transfer of embryos, at 96 h after hCG, to synchronous pseudopregnant recipients showed that more embryos in oviduct co-culture formed fetuses than those cultured in T6 + 5% FCS. Co-culture of 1-cell embryos with uterine cells did not confer an advantage in cell numbers over T6 + 5% FCS. However, more 8-cell embryos formed blastocyst outgrowths after 100 h in co-culture with uterine cells prepared from mice at Day 3 of pseudopregnancy than with uterine cultures prepared from mice at Day 1 of pseudopregnancy or oviduct cells. In addition, there was further improvement when the Day 3 uterine co-cultures were supplemented with 1 or 10 ng progesterone/ml.

These results highlight the importance of the oviduct and uterine cells during the different stages of preimplantation embryo development.

Keywords: co-culture; cleavage rate; embryo; oviduct; uterus; mouse

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