Differential regulation of receptivity in two uterine horns of a recipient mouse following asynchronous embryo transfer.
ABSTRACT: Receptivity is a limited time in which uterine endometrium can establish a successful dialogue with blastocyst. This study was to investigate the effect of asynchronous embryo transfer on uterine receptivity in mice. Embryos under different stages were transferred into two oviduct sides of a recipient mouse on day 1 of pseudopregnancy. Our results showed the asynchronously transferred embryos can implant in all groups. Compared to zygote-transfer group, the length of implanted embryos is longer in 8-cell embryo- or blastocyst-transfer group. The levels of Snail and COX-2 immunostaining in blastocyst-transfer group are significantly stronger than that in zygote-transfer group. Embryos in blastocyst-transfer group migrate faster than that in zygote-transfer group within uterus. Blastocysts are in a state of developmental delay after they are transferred into oviducts, and they are reactivated and implanted rapidly in uterus. The developmental rate to newborn in zygote-transfer group is obviously higher than that in blastocyst-transfer group, suggesting that a delay in embryo development and implantation will lead to a decrease of litter size. These results indicated that the window of implantation is differentially regulated in two uterine horns of a recipient by embryos at different stages.
Project description:An effective bidirectional communication between an implantation-competent blastocyst and the receptive uterus is a prerequisite for mammalian reproduction. The blastocyst will implant only when this molecular cross-talk is established. Here we show that the muscle segment homeobox gene (Msh) family members Msx1 and Msx2, which are two highly conserved genes critical for epithelial-mesenchymal interactions during development, also play crucial roles in embryo implantation. Loss of Msx1/Msx2 expression correlates with altered uterine luminal epithelial cell polarity and affects E-cadherin/?-catenin complex formation through the control of Wnt5a expression. Application of Wnt5a in vitro compromised blastocyst invasion and trophoblast outgrowth on cultured uterine epithelial cells. The finding that Msx1/Msx2 genes are critical for conferring uterine receptivity and readiness to implantation could have clinical significance, because compromised uterine receptivity is a major cause of pregnancy failure in IVF programs.
Project description:Successful embryo implantation requires functional luminal epithelia to establish uterine receptivity and blastocyst-uterine adhesion. During the configuration of uterine receptivity from prereceptive phase, the luminal epithelium undergoes dynamic membrane reorganization and depolarization. This timely regulated epithelial membrane maturation and precisely maintained epithelial integrity are critical for embryo implantation in both humans and mice. However, it remained largely unexplored with respect to potential signaling cascades governing this functional epithelial transformation prior to implantation. Using multiple genetic and cellular approaches combined with uterine conditional Rac1 deletion mouse model, we demonstrated herein that Rac1, a small GTPase, is spatiotemporally expressed in the periimplantation uterus, and uterine depletion of Rac1 induces premature decrease of epithelial apical-basal polarity and defective junction remodeling, leading to disrupted uterine receptivity and implantation failure. Further investigations identified Pak1-ERM as a downstream signaling cascade upon Rac1 activation in the luminal epithelium necessary for uterine receptivity. In addition, we also demonstrated that Rac1 via P38 MAPK signaling ensures timely epithelial apoptotic death at postimplantation. Besides uncovering a potentially important molecule machinery governing uterine luminal integrity for embryo implantation, our finding has high clinical relevance, because Rac1 is essential for normal endometrial functions in women.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To evaluate the location of transferred embryos under various parameters during embryo transfer in in vitro fertilization (IVF) by applying an in vitro experimental model for embryo transfer (ET). METHODS:Mock ET simulations were conducted with a laboratory model of the uterine cavity. The transfer catheter was loaded with a sequence of air and liquid volumes, including development-arrested embryos donated by patients. The transfer procedure was recorded using a digital video camera. An orthogonal design, including three independent variables (uterine orientation, distance of the catheter tip to the fundus, and injection speed) and one dependent variable (final embryo position), was applied. RESULTS:The uterine cavity was divided into six regions. The distribution of the transferred matter within the uterine cavity varied according to the uterine orientation. Medium speed-injected embryos were mostly found in the static region while fast- and slow-speed injected embryos were mostly found in the fundal region and the cervical-left region, respectively. The possibility of embryo separation from the air bubble increased from 11.1% in slow injection cases to 29.6% and 48.1% in medium and fast injection cases, respectively. CONCLUSION:The experimental model provides a new method for investigating ET procedures. Fast injection of embryos into a retroverted uterus may be more likely to result in embryo separation from the air bubble.
Project description:Uterine glands are essential for pregnancy in mice and likely humans, because they secrete or transport bioactive substances that regulate uterine receptivity for blastocyst implantation. In mice, the uterus becomes receptive to blastocyst implantation on day 4, but is refractory by day 5. Here, blastocysts could be recovered from progesterone-induced uterine gland (PUGKO) but not wildtype (WT) mice on day 5 post-mating. Anti-adhesive Muc1 protein and microvilli were present on the luminal epithelium of PUGKO but not WT uteri. A number of known uterine receptivity genes and gland-specific genes were altered in the PUGKO uterus. Next, the uterus and uterine luminal fluid (ULF) were obtained from WT and PUGKO mice on day 3, 4 and 5. Transcriptome analysis revealed that 580 genes were decreased in the PUGKO uterus, however ULF secrotome analysis revealed that many proteins and several amino acids were increased in the PUGKO ULF. Of note, many proteins encoded by many gland-specific genes were not identified in the ULF of WT mice. These results support the ideas that uterine glands secrete factors that regulate ULF homeostasis and interact with other cell types in the uterus to influence uterine receptivity and blastocyst implantation for the establishment of pregnancy.
Project description:Human preimplantation embryo development is susceptible to high rates of early embryo wastage. We determined the miR-21 expression of extracellular vesicles (EVs) in fertilized eggs and embryos of varying stages and their response to miR-21 microinjection. Sexually mature female and male mice were mated. Next, the expression and immunohistochemistry intensity of surface markers (CD9 and CD63) of EVs were detected in pregnant and non-pregnant mice. Exosomes were co-cultured with embryos for detection of blastocyst formation rate, and embryo apoptosis. Moreover, the expressions of Bcl-2 associated X protein (Bax), B cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2), and octamer-binding transcription factor-4 (Oct4) were determined. Finally, we detected miR-21 expression in EVs of uterus in pregnant mice, in embryos after embryo implantation and after embryo co-cultured with exosomes in uterine luminal fluid. MiR-21 was up-regulated in EVs of uterus, and higher immunohistochemistry intensity of CD9 and CD63, suggesting more EVs secreted in uterine luminal fluid in pregnant mice. After microinjection, miR-21 inhibitor suppresses embryo development of mice. Moreover, embryos co-cultured with exosomes display higher blastocyst formation rate, reduced apoptotic rate of embryos in pregnant mice. In addition, miR-21 was down-regulated with the development of embryos after embryo implantation, while miR-21 expression in embryos was up-regulated by exosomes in uterine luminal fluid in the pregnant mice. Increased miR-21 expression in EVs of uterus and increased miR-21 expression after implantation, which indicate the key role in the growth of fertilized eggs and embryo development in mice.
Project description:Embryo implantation in the uterus is a critical step in mammalian reproduction, requiring preparation of the uterus receptive to blastocyst implantation. Uterine receptivity, also known as the window of implantation, lasts for a limited period, and it is during this period blastocysts normally implant. Ovarian steroid hormones estrogen and progesterone (P(4)) are the primary regulators of this process. The immunophilin FKBP52 serves as a cochaperone for steroid hormone nuclear receptors to govern appropriate hormone action in target tissues. Here we show a critical role for FKBP52 in mouse implantation. This immunophilin has unique spatiotemporal expression in the uterus during implantation, and females missing the Fkbp52 gene have complete implantation failure due to lack of attainment of uterine receptivity. The overlapping uterine expression of FKBP52 with nuclear progesterone receptor (PR) in wild-type mice together with reduced P(4) binding to PR, attenuated PR transcriptional activity and down-regulation of several P(4)-regulated genes in uteri of Fkbp52(-/-) mice, establishes this cochaperone as a critical regulator of uterine P(4) function. Interestingly, ovulation, another P(4)-mediated event, remains normal. Collectively, the present investigation provides evidence for an in vivo role for this cochaperone in regulating tissue-specific hormone action and its critical role in uterine receptivity for implantation.
Project description:Embryo implantation is a highly orchestrated process that involves blastocyst-uterine interactions. This process is confined to a defined interval during gestation referred to as the "window of embryo implantation receptivity". In mice this receptive period is controlled by ovarian estrogen and involves a coordination of blastocyst adhesion competence and uterine receptivity. Mechanisms coordinating the acquisition of blastocyst adhesion competence and uterine receptivity are largely unknown. Here, we show that ovarian estrogen indirectly regulates blastocyst adhesion competence. Acquisition of blastocyst adhesion competence was attributed to integrin activation (e.g. formation of adhesion complexes) rather than de novo integrin synthesis. Osteopontin (OPN) was identified as an estrogen-dependent uterine endometrial gland secretory factor responsible for activating blastocyst adhesion competence. Increased adhesion complex assembly in OPN-treated blastocysts was mediated through focal adhesion kinase (FAK)- and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-dependent signaling pathways. These findings define for the first time specific regulatory components of an estrogen-dependent pathway coordinating blastocyst adhesion competence and uterine receptivity.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Unicornuate uterus, a congenital uterine malformation resulting from unilateral maldevelopment of Mullerian duct, is more prevalent in women with infertility. Owing to relative rarity of the condition, the evidence on the associated reproductive outcomes is derived from small heterogeneous studies that report different clinical endpoints and often do not account for the anatomical variations of unicornuate uterus. The aim of this study was to evaluate the embryological and clinical outcomes following IVF-ICSI treatment in women with unicornuate uterus without rudimentary functional cavity (ESHRE-ESGE class IVb).<h4>Methods</h4>Retrospective nested case-control study comprised 342 women with unicornuate uterus and 1026 matched controls who underwent IVF-ICSI cycles between October 2012 and October 2016. Cumulative live birth rate upon one complete IVF cycle, including transfers of all resulting embryos was considered as a primary outcome measure.<h4>Results</h4>Baseline characteristics were comparable between the unicornuate uterus and control groups except for higher rate of primary infertility in unicornuate uterus. Ovarian response to stimulation did not differ between the groups. Transfer of day-3 embryos in fresh cycle resulted in lower clinical pregnancy rate (35.9% vs. 43.9%, p?=?0.028) and live-birth rate (26.9% vs. 35.2%, p?=?0.017) per transfer, but the difference was not observed when either cleavage frozen-thaw embryos or blastocysts were transferred. Implantation rate was lower and miscarriage rate was higher in women with unicornuate uterus but the difference between the groups did not reach statistical significance. Transfer of cleavage embryos resulted in significantly higher miscarriage rate and lower live-birth rate in fresh versus frozen-thaw cycles in each group, whereas fresh and frozen-thaw blastocyst embryos had comparable outcomes. Upon completion of one IVF-ICSI cycle, the cumulative pregnancy rate (53.1% vs. 65.7, p?<?0.001) and cumulative live birth rate (42.4% vs. 54.6%, p?<?0.001) were significantly lower in women with unicornuate uterus compared to those in women with normal uterus. Cumulative outcomes were superior when embryos were cultured to blastocyst stage.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Women with unicornuate uterus have lower clinical pregnancy and live birth rate after IVF-ICSI treatment compared to women with normal uterus. The treatment outcomes are improved with blastocyst culture, which warrants evaluation in prospective setting.
Project description:Although somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) cloning is more efficient in cattle than in any other species tested so far, there is a high rate of pregnancy failure that has been linked to structural and functional abnormalities of the placenta. We tested the hypothesis that these changes may originate from disturbed embryo-maternal interactions in the peri-implantation period. Therefore, we evaluated the response of the endometrium to SCNT embryos (produced from 7 different fetal fibroblast cell lines) as compared with embryos derived from in vitro fertilization (IVF). SCNT embryos and IVF embryos were cultured under identical conditions to the blastocyst stage (day 7) and were transferred to corresponding recipients, which were slaughtered at day 18 of pregnancy. The mRNA profiles of endometrium samples were obtained using a custom cDNA microarray enriched for transcripts differentially expressed in the endometrium and/or oviduct epithelium during the estrous cycle and/or early pregnancy. Overall, the variation in mRNA profiles was greater in the SCNT group than in the IVF group. Furthermore, 58 transcripts were differentially abundant in endometria from SCNT and IVF pregnancies. Prominent examples are orphan nuclear receptor COUP-TFII and connexin 43, both known to play important roles in uterine receptivity and conceptus placentation. These findings suggest that placental failure in bovine clone pregnancies may originate from abnormal embryo-maternal communication that develops during the peri-implantation period. Endometrium transcriptome profiles may serve as a tool to evaluate SCNT embryos for their ability to establish pregnancy and develop a functional placenta.
Project description:Abstract Embryo transfer (ET) is a decisive step in the in vitro fertilization process. In most cases, the embryo is transferred to the uterus after several days of in vitro culture. Although studies have identified the beneficial effects of ET on proper embryo development in the earlier stages, this strategy is compromised by the necessity to transfer early embryos (zygotes) back to the fallopian tube instead of the uterus, which requires a more invasive, laparoscopic procedure, termed zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT). Magnetic micromotors offer the possibility to mitigate such surgical interventions, as they have the potential to transport and deliver cellular cargo such as zygotes through the uterus and fallopian tube noninvasively, actuated by an externally applied rotating magnetic field. This study presents the capture, transport, and release of bovine and murine zygotes using two types of magnetic micropropellers, helix and spiral. Although helices represent an established micromotor architecture, spirals surpass them in terms of motion performance and with their ability to reliably capture and secure the cargo during both motion and transfer between different environments. Herein, this is demonstrated with murine oocytes/zygotes as the cargo; this is the first step toward the application of noninvasive, magnetic micromotor?assisted ZIFT. Spiral micropropellers that capture, transport, and release oocytes and zygotes, actuated solely by a rotating magnetic field, and are transferred between different environments without losing the cargo, are presented. The propulsion and transport performance of the innovative propellers and their advantages over established helical micromotors are demonstrated regarding applicability in a noninvasive alternative concept to laparoscopy, zygote transfer by micromotors.