Glycosaminoglycans improves early development of zona-free 8-cell rat embryos to blastocysts in a chemically defined medium, but not the pregnancy rate following transfer of the blastocysts

Masanobu Okuyama, Hiroaki Funahashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The objective of the present study was to clarify the possible role of the zona pellucida (ZP) in early development of rat embryos and to determine the effect of glycosaminoglycans on the development of ZP-free 8-cell embryos before or after embryo transfer at the blastocyst stage. Eight-cell embryos were divided into three groups comprised of, 1) intact controls, 2) embryos with the ZP was removed with acidic solution and 3) pairs of ZP-free 8-cell embryos aggregated in a small hollow. These embryos were cultured in a chemically defined mR1ECM for 24 h. Developmental ability to the blastocyst stage and mean cell number in the blastocyst was lower in ZP-free embryos than in intact controls. When these blastocysts were transferred, the farrowing rate and efficiency of embryos developed to term were also lower in ZP-free embryos, but not in the aggregated ones. Supplementation with hyaluronan (HA; 63-250 μg/ml) or heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HS; 15 μg/ml) significantly improved blastocyst formation of ZP-free embryos and the cell number in the blastocyst by reducing the incidence of apoptosis. However, there were no beneficial effects of HA or HS on farrowing and newborn rates after transfer of the blastocysts. In conclusion, the ZP plays roles in maintaining successful development of early rat embryos at least from the 8-cell stage not only to the blastocyst stage but also to posttransfer stages. Glycosaminoglycans, such as HA or HS, appear to contribute to successful cleavage during early development to the blastocyst stage but may be insufficient to maintain the posttransfer survival of ZP-free embryos.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-301
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Reproduction and Development
Volume58
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 19 2012

Keywords

  • Blastocyst
  • Embryo culture
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Rat
  • Zona pellucida

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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