3 years ago

A mathematical model of the interaction between bovine blastocyst developmental stage and progesterone-stimulated uterine factors on differential embryonic development observed on Day 15 of gestation

A complex interaction between the developing bovine embryo and the growth potential of the uterine milieu it inhabits results in an embryo capable of developing past the maternal recognition stage and on to a successful pregnancy. Previously, we observed variation in the lengths of embryos recovered 8 d after bulk transfer of Day 7 in vitro-produced (IVP) blastocysts into the same uterus. Potential causes of the differential embryonic growth were examined and modeled using 2 rounds of bulk (n = 4–6) IVP transfers and recovery of these embryos 8 d later. Morphological and gene expression measurements of the embryos were determined and the progesterone concentration of the cows was measured throughout the reproductive cycle as a reflection of the status of the uterine environment. These data were used to develop and evaluate a model that describes the interaction between the uterine environment and the growth rate of the developing embryo. Expression of 6 trophectoderm genes (IFNT, TKDP1, PAG11, PTGS2, DKK1, and PDPN) was correlated with conceptus length. The model determined that if the embryo develops to blastocyst stage, the uterine environment, driven by progesterone, is a more important component than blastocyst size in the stimulation of embryonic growth rate to ensure adequate interferon tau (IFNT) for pregnancy recognition. We detected an effect of Day 7 progesterone on the expression of all 6 genes, embryonic disc size, and trophectoderm length on Day 15. We also found effects of embryo transfer size on trophectoderm length and expression of IFNT and PAG11 on Day 15. Lower energy balance over the period from transfer to recovery was associated with reduced embryo growth to Day 15, and this effect was independent of progesterone. Energy balance also affected expression of PDPN and TKDP1 on Day 15. We observed an effect of energy balance from transfer to recovery on embryo survival in cows with partial embryo losses, where embryo factors dominate embryo survival, with cows with greater energy balance having lower embryo losses. This effect was independent of energy balance 40 d before transfer and suggests that energy balance has direct, immediate effects on the embryo and maternal environment during this period. Furthermore, energy balance effects on embryo survival in cows with partial embryo losses were largely mediated by expression of TKDP1, PAG11, and PDPN. These results provide candidate signaling pathways for the effect of progesterone and energy balance on embryo growth and survival.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0022030217309876

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