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Selected Publication:

Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Review
Presentation type: Presentation

Year: 2020

Authors: Besenfelder, U; Brem, G; Havlicek, V

Title: Review: Environmental impact on early embryonic development in the bovine species.

Source: XIIIth International Symposium on Ruminant Physiology (ISRP 2019), Leipzig, Germany, SEP 3-6, 2019. Animal (14), S1 s103-s112.

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Besenfelder Urban
Brem Gottfried
Havlicek Vitezslav

Vetmed Research Units
Institute of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Unit of Reproductive Biology

Project(s): Optimisation of early reproductive success in dairy cattle through the definition of new traits and improved reproductive biotechnology

Assisted reproduction techniques (ARTs) provide access to early stage embryos whose analysis and assessment deliver valuable information. The handling of embryos, including the in vitro production of bovine embryos, is a rapidly evolving area which nonetheless exposes the embryos to unnatural conditions for a period of time. The Fallopian tube provides innumerable quantitative and qualitative factors, all of which guarantee the successful development of the embryo. It is well known that the Fallopian tube can be bypassed, using embryo transfer, resulting in successful implantation in the target recipient animal and the birth of calves. However, the question arises as to whether such circumvention has a negative impact on the embryo during this sensitive development period. First crosstalk between the embryo and its environment confirms mutual recognition activities and indicate bilateral effects. Nowadays, in vitro production of bovine embryos is a well-established technology. However, it is still evident that in vitro generated embryos are not qualitatively comparable to embryos obtained ex vivo. To counteract these differences, comparative studies between in vitro and ex vivo embryos are advantageous, as embryos grown in their physiological environment can provide a blueprint or gold standard against which to compare embryos produced in vitro. Attempts to harness the bovine oviduct were sometimes very invasive and did not result in wide acceptance and routine use. Long-term development and refinement of transvaginal endoscopy for accessing the bovine oviduct has meanwhile been routinely applied for research as well as in practice. Comparative studies combining in vitro development with development in the cattle oviduct revealed that the environmental conditions to which the embryo is exposed before activation of the embryonic genome can have detrimental and lasting effects on its further development. These effects are manifested as deviations in gene expression profiles and methylation signatures as well as frequency of whole chromosomal or segmental aberrations. Furthermore, it was shown that hormonal superstimulation (multiple ovulation and embryo transfer), varying progesterone concentrations as well as metabolic disorders caused by high milk production, markedly affected embryo development in the postpartum period. Assisted reproductive techniques that allow the production and handling of extra numbers of generated embryos promise to have a very high impact on scientific and practical application. Any influence on the early embryonic life, both in animals and in vitro, is accompanied by a sensitive change in embryonic activity and should be assessed in vivo on the basis of physiological conditions before being used for ART.

Keywords Pubmed: Animals
Embryo Implantation
Embryo Transferveterinary
Embryo, Mammalianembryologyphysiology
Embryonic Developmentphysiology
Fallopian Tubesembryologyphysiology

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