Relationship between group II caspase activity of bovine preimplantation embryos and capacity for hatching

Frank Dean Jousan, Luiz Augusto De Castro E Paula, Amber Marie Brad, Zvi Roth, Peter James Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

The occurrence of apoptosis in a fraction of blastomeres in the preimplantation embryo is well known but the consequences of this phenomenon for the developmental potential of the blastocyst has not been well established. Here we demonstrate that blastocysts with low amounts of activated group II caspase activity have increased potential for development to the hatched blastocyst stage. Bovine blastocysts produced in vitro were assayed using a non-invasive fluoregenic substrate that is cleaved by activated group II caspases (i.e., caspase-2, -3 and -7). Subsequently, blastocysts were cultured until Day 10 post-insemination and the proportion undergoing hatching determined. In Experiment 1, blastocysts were cultured without respect to stage of development (expanded or non-expanded); blastocysts classified as having low caspase activity had higher hatching rates than blastocysts with medium or high caspase activity. In Experiment 2, embryos were categorized as nonexpanded or expanded blastocysts. Caspase activity was lower and hatching rate higher for expanded blastocysts than for nonexpanded blastocysts. For nonexpanded blastocysts, embryos classified as having low caspase activity had higher hatching rates as compared to embryos with medium or high caspase activity. In conclusion, the capacity for blastocysts to undergo further development is related to degree of group II caspase activity. Conditions that enhance the incidence of apoptosis in blastocysts may reduce developmental competence. In addition, determination of caspase activity may be useful for selection of embryos for transfer into recipients.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)217-220
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Reproduction and Development
Volume54
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2008

Keywords

  • Blastocyst
  • Bovine
  • Embryo
  • Group II caspase
  • Hatching

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