Development, amino acid utilization and cell allocation in bovine embryos after in vitro production in contrasting culture systems

M Kuran, J J Robinson, David Stanley Brown, T G McEvoy

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    25 Citations (Scopus)


    The effects of protein-supplemented and protein-free media on amino acid uptake, protein synthesis and cell differentiation in bovine blastocysts were investigated. Four formulations of synthetic oviduct fluid were used. Each formulation was identified by the principal supplement: bovine serum albumin (0.4%, w/v); polyvinyl alcohol (0.3%, w/v); or either of two steer sera (110%, v/v). After zygote culture, blastocyst yields (day 7.5) were lowest in protein-free medium and highest in albumin-supplemented medium. Subsequent 12 h incubation in the presence of both essential and non-essential amino acids was used for the measurement of amino acid flux. All blastocysts released alanine but consumed aspartate (P < 0.001) and the extent was influenced by prior culture conditions. Aspartate uptake was lower in blastocysts produced in protein-free conditions (P < 0.05) than in blastocysts produced in album in-supplemented conditions. Consumption indices for 16 other amino acids were not influenced by blastocyst source. Cell counts and hatching incidences were highest for albumin-supplemented blastocysts, but were similar among blastocysts from the protein-free and serum-dependent treatments. Crucially, the use of protein-free medium for zygote culture did not compromise resultant blastocysts in terms of either de novo protein synthesis ([H-3]phenylalanine incorporation) or trophectoderm function (phenotype based on interferon-tau detection). Thus, although blastocyst yields were compromised after zygote culture in a protein-free (vis-a-vis albumin-supplemented) medium, amino acid flux was qualitatively conserved, and only quantitatively modified in the case of alanine and aspartate. Moreover, vital properties of blastocysts that were produced, including de novo protein synthesis and trophectodermal cell function, apparently were not adversely affected by protein deprivation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)155-165
    Number of pages11
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2002


    • in-vitro
    • preimplantation embryos
    • invitro fertilization
    • metabolic-activity
    • sheep embryos
    • blastocysts
    • expression
    • cattle
    • serum
    • vivo


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