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Special Issue "Advances in Reproductive Biology"

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A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Pathology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2015)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Hefeng Huang (Website)

International Peace Maternity and Child Health Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
Guest Editor
Professor Robert J. Norman (Website)

The Robinson Institute, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia
Phone: +61450840245

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Reproduction is a fundamental feature of all living creatures. The biological study of reproduction is a hotly debated issue. Emerging topics include spermatogenesis, oogenesis, the biology of embryonic stem cells, environmental effects on reproductive potential, adverse intrauterine/gametogenesis environment and gamete/embryo-fetal origins of diseases, endocrine disruptor on the health of parents and offspring, and epigenetic effects on reproductive and developmental processes. Most functional organs and bodily systems initiate to develop early in gestation but become fully mature only after birth. Embryonic and fetal periods are clearly vulnerable to environmental factors, despite the short periods of exposure. Prenatal and early postnatal events increase the risk of some diseases in later life including diabetes, coronary heart disease and hypertension, etc. This Special Issue will focus on the physiology and pathophysiology of gametogenesis and embryogenesis, assisted reproductive technology, and, gamete/embryo-fetal origins of diseases.

Prof. Dr. Hefeng Huang
Professor Robert J Norman
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • reproduction
  • gamete
  • embryo
  • assisted reproductive technology
  • gamete/embryo-fetal origins of diseases
  • mechanisms

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Open AccessArticle A Soluble Pyrophosphatase Is Essential to Oogenesis and Is Required for Polyphosphate Metabolism in the Red Flour Beetle (Tribolium castaneum)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(4), 6631-6644; doi:10.3390/ijms16046631
Received: 8 January 2015 / Revised: 13 February 2015 / Accepted: 9 March 2015 / Published: 24 March 2015
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Abstract
Polyphosphates have been found in all cell types examined to date and play diverse roles depending on the cell type. In eukaryotic organisms, polyphosphates have been mainly investigated in mammalian cells with few studies on insects. Some studies have demonstrated that a [...] Read more.
Polyphosphates have been found in all cell types examined to date and play diverse roles depending on the cell type. In eukaryotic organisms, polyphosphates have been mainly investigated in mammalian cells with few studies on insects. Some studies have demonstrated that a pyrophosphatase regulates polyphosphate metabolism, and most of them were performed on trypanosomatids. Here, we investigated the effects of sPPase gene knocked down in oogenesis and polyphosphate metabolism in the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum). A single sPPase gene was identified in insect genome and is maternally provided at the mRNA level and not restricted to any embryonic or extraembryonic region during embryogenesis. After injection of Tc-sPPase dsRNA, female survival was reduced to 15% of the control (dsNeo RNA), and egg laying was completely impaired. The morphological analysis by nuclear DAPI staining of the ovarioles in Tc-sPPase dsRNA-injected females showed that the ovariole number is diminished, degenerated oocytes can be observed, and germarium is reduced. The polyphosphate level was increased in cytoplasmic and nuclear fractions in Tc-sPPase RNAi; Concomitantly, the exopolyphosphatase activity decreased in both fractions. Altogether, these data suggest a role for sPPase in the regulation on polyphosphate metabolism in insects and provide evidence that Tc-sPPase is essential to oogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Reproductive Biology)
Open AccessArticle Microarray Analysis on Gene Regulation by Estrogen, Progesterone and Tamoxifen in Human Endometrial Stromal Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(3), 5864-5885; doi:10.3390/ijms16035864
Received: 23 November 2014 / Revised: 29 January 2015 / Accepted: 25 February 2015 / Published: 13 March 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3302 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Epithelial stromal cells represent a major cellular component of human uterine endometrium that is subject to tight hormonal regulation. Through cell-cell contacts and/or paracrine mechanisms, stromal cells play a significant role in the malignant transformation of epithelial cells. We isolated stromal cells [...] Read more.
Epithelial stromal cells represent a major cellular component of human uterine endometrium that is subject to tight hormonal regulation. Through cell-cell contacts and/or paracrine mechanisms, stromal cells play a significant role in the malignant transformation of epithelial cells. We isolated stromal cells from normal human endometrium and investigated the morphological and transcriptional changes induced by estrogen, progesterone and tamoxifen. We demonstrated that stromal cells express appreciable levels of estrogen and progesterone receptors and undergo different morphological changes upon hormonal stimulation. Microarray analysis indicated that both estrogen and progesterone induced dramatic alterations in a variety of genes associated with cell structure, transcription, cell cycle, and signaling. However, divergent patterns of changes, and in some genes opposite effects, were observed for the two hormones. A large number of genes are identified as novel targets for hormonal regulation. These hormone-responsive genes may be involved in normal uterine function and the development of endometrial malignancies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Reproductive Biology)
Open AccessArticle Effects of Ration Levels on Growth and Reproduction from Larvae to First-Time Spawning in the Female Gambusia affinis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(3), 5604-5617; doi:10.3390/ijms16035604
Received: 23 December 2014 / Revised: 13 February 2015 / Accepted: 26 February 2015 / Published: 11 March 2015
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Abstract
Somatic growth and reproduction were examined in individual laboratory-grown female Gambusia affinis fed with high (H), medium (M) and low (L) ration levels from birth to the first-time spawning. Results showed that the body length and weight, condition factor (CF), [...] Read more.
Somatic growth and reproduction were examined in individual laboratory-grown female Gambusia affinis fed with high (H), medium (M) and low (L) ration levels from birth to the first-time spawning. Results showed that the body length and weight, condition factor (CF), wet weight gain (WGw), specific growth rate in wet weight (SGRw) and ration levels in terms of energy (RLe) decreased significantly (p < 0.05) with decreasing ration levels from birth to first-time spawning. On the contrary, the food conversion efficiency in terms of energy (FCEe) increased significantly (p < 0.05) with the decreasing ration levels from birth to first-time sexual maturity. Furthermore, higher percentages of energy intake from food were allocated to somatic and gonad growth in M and L groups compared to the H group before sexual maturity; In addition, the time for first-time spawning in groups M and L was longer than that of the H group. As a result, the gonad-somatic index (GSI) and oocytes/embryos weight in M and L groups were similar to that of the H group, although the ovary weight and oocytes/embryos numbers were all lower than that of the H group. Also, similar growth performances were observed in second-generation offspring, which were produced by female parents fed with different ration levels. These findings suggest that the female G. affinis could produce a number of healthy offspring under conditions of food restriction, and that this could be achieved by increasing the energy allocated to gonad development, reducing fecundity and delaying spawning time. These life strategies ensured that G. affinis could survive and thrive in adverse environmental conditions and exhibit characteristics of invasive fish species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Reproductive Biology)
Open AccessArticle Transcriptome Analysis in Rat Kidneys: Importance of Genes Involved in Programmed Hypertension
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(3), 4744-4758; doi:10.3390/ijms16034744
Received: 29 December 2014 / Revised: 9 February 2015 / Accepted: 17 February 2015 / Published: 2 March 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (760 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Suboptimal conditions in pregnancy can elicit long-term effects on the health of offspring. The most common outcome is programmed hypertension. We examined whether there are common genes and pathways in the kidney are responsible for generating programmed hypertension among three different models [...] Read more.
Suboptimal conditions in pregnancy can elicit long-term effects on the health of offspring. The most common outcome is programmed hypertension. We examined whether there are common genes and pathways in the kidney are responsible for generating programmed hypertension among three different models using next generation RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) technology. Pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats received dexamethasone (DEX, 0.1 mg/kg) from gestational day 16 to 22, 60% high-fructose (HF) diet, or NG-nitro-l-arginine-methyester (l-NAME, 60 mg/kg/day) to conduct DEX, HF, or l-NAME model respectively. All three models elicited programmed hypertension in adult male offspring. We observed five shared genes (Bcl6, Dmrtc1c, Egr1, Inmt, and Olr1668) among three different models. The identified differential genes (DEGs) that are related to regulation of blood pressure included Aqp2, Ptgs1, Eph2x, Hba-a2, Apln, Guca2b, Hmox1, and Npy. RNA-Seq identified genes in arachidonic acid metabolism are potentially gatekeeper genes contributing to programmed hypertension. In addition, HF and DEX increased expression and activity of soluble epoxide hydrolase (Ephx2 gene encoding protein). Conclusively, the DEGs in arachidonic acid metabolism are potentially gatekeeper genes in programmed hypertension. The roles of DEGs identified by the RNA-Seq in this study deserve further clarification, to develop the potential interventions in the prevention of programmed hypertension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Reproductive Biology)
Open AccessArticle The Association between Polymorphism of INSR and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Meta-Analysis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(2), 2403-2425; doi:10.3390/ijms16022403
Received: 10 November 2014 / Revised: 31 December 2014 / Accepted: 13 January 2015 / Published: 22 January 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4678 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common gynecological endocrine disorder. The genetic background is believed to play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of PCOS. In recent years, the role of insulin receptor (INSR) polymorphisms in PCOS predisposition has [...] Read more.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common gynecological endocrine disorder. The genetic background is believed to play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of PCOS. In recent years, the role of insulin receptor (INSR) polymorphisms in PCOS predisposition has attracted much attention. We performed a meta-analysis to investigate the association between the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of INSR and PCOS. Published literature from Pubmed, Embase, and Cochrane CENTRAL was retrieved up until 7 August 2014. A total of 20 case-control studies including 23,845 controls and 17,460 PCOS cases with an average Newcastle-Ottawa quality assessment scale (NOS) score of 6.75 were analyzed. Ninety-eight SNPs distributed in 23 exons and the flanking regions of INSR were investigated, among which 17 SNPs were found to be associated with PCOS. Three SNPs detected in more than three studies were selected for further analyses. Twelve studies including 1158 controls and 1264 PCOS cases entered the analysis of rs1799817, but no significant association was found for every genotype (p > 0.05). Further subgroup stratification by ethnicity and weight did not lead to discovery of significant correlation (p > 0.05). For rs2059806, four studies including 442 controls and 524 PCOS cases were qualified for meta-analysis, and no significant association with PCOS was found for any genotype (p > 0.05). Four studies including 12,830 controls and 11,683 PCOS cases investigated the correlation between rs2059807 and PCOS, and five of the six cohorts indicated a significant impact. Our current meta-analysis suggests no significant correlation between rs1799817/rs2059806 SNPs and susceptibility of PCOS, while rs2059807 could be a promising candidate SNP that might be involved in the susceptibility of PCOS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Reproductive Biology)
Open AccessArticle Maternal High-Fat Diet Modulates Hepatic Glucose, Lipid Homeostasis and Gene Expression in the PPAR Pathway in the Early Life of Offspring
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(9), 14967-14983; doi:10.3390/ijms150914967
Received: 21 July 2014 / Revised: 19 August 2014 / Accepted: 21 August 2014 / Published: 25 August 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1927 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Maternal dietary modifications determine the susceptibility to metabolic diseases in adult life. However, whether maternal high-fat feeding can modulate glucose and lipid metabolism in the early life of offspring is less understood. Furthermore, we explored the underlying mechanisms that influence the phenotype. [...] Read more.
Maternal dietary modifications determine the susceptibility to metabolic diseases in adult life. However, whether maternal high-fat feeding can modulate glucose and lipid metabolism in the early life of offspring is less understood. Furthermore, we explored the underlying mechanisms that influence the phenotype. Using C57BL/6J mice, we examined the effects on the offspring at weaning from dams fed with a high-fat diet or normal chow diet throughout pregnancy and lactation. Gene array experiments and quantitative real-time PCR were performed in the liver tissues of the offspring mice. The offspring of the dams fed the high-fat diet had a heavier body weight, impaired glucose tolerance, decreased insulin sensitivity, increased serum cholesterol and hepatic steatosis at weaning. Bioinformatic analyses indicated that all differentially expressed genes of the offspring between the two groups were mapped to nine pathways. Genes in the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) signaling pathway were verified by quantitative real-time PCR and these genes were significantly up-regulated in the high-fat diet offspring. A maternal high-fat diet during pregnancy and lactation can modulate hepatic glucose, lipid homeostasis, and gene expression in the PPAR signaling in the early life of offspring, and our results suggested that potential mechanisms that influences this phenotype may be related partially to up-regulate some gene expression in the PPAR signalling pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Reproductive Biology)

Review

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Open AccessReview Effects of Dietary Vitamin E on Fertility Functions in Poultry Species
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(5), 9910-9921; doi:10.3390/ijms16059910
Received: 25 February 2015 / Revised: 17 April 2015 / Accepted: 24 April 2015 / Published: 30 April 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (903 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Vitamin E is found in high quantities in vegetable oils. Although vitamin E has multiple functions in humans and animals, its key function is protecting cells from oxidative damage. Since its discovery, several studies have demonstrated that vitamin E deficiency causes impaired [...] Read more.
Vitamin E is found in high quantities in vegetable oils. Although vitamin E has multiple functions in humans and animals, its key function is protecting cells from oxidative damage. Since its discovery, several studies have demonstrated that vitamin E deficiency causes impaired fertility in humans and lab animals. However, the effects of vitamin E deficiency or of its supplementation on the fertility of farm animals, particularly on poultry, are less well studied. Therefore, a comprehensive review of the effects of dietary vitamin E on the fertility of poultry species is needed in order to understand the beneficial role of vitamin E in the maintenance of sperm and egg qualities. Based on the observations reviewed here, we found that a moderate amount of vitamin E in poultry diet significantly protects semen/sperm qualities in male birds and egg qualities in female birds via decreasing the lipid peroxidation in semen/sperms and eggs. This review provides an overall understanding of the effects of dietary vitamin E on fertility functions in poultry species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Reproductive Biology)
Figures

Open AccessReview Male Reproductive Cancers and Infertility: A Mutual Relationship
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(4), 7230-7260; doi:10.3390/ijms16047230
Received: 18 February 2015 / Revised: 29 March 2015 / Accepted: 29 March 2015 / Published: 31 March 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (789 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Reproductive dysfunction and malignancies related to the male gender represent a serious health concern, whose incidence has significantly risen over the past years. Prior to treatment, testicular or prostate cancer patients often display poor semen characteristics similar to subfertile or infertile patients. [...] Read more.
Reproductive dysfunction and malignancies related to the male gender represent a serious health concern, whose incidence has significantly risen over the past years. Prior to treatment, testicular or prostate cancer patients often display poor semen characteristics similar to subfertile or infertile patients. This fact is underscored by cases where the malignancy is often diagnosed in males who undergo a general fertility screening. This review aims to examine the associations between male infertility and reproductive cancers focusing on common etiologies and biological mechanisms underlining these pathologies. Furthermore, we discuss compelling epidemiological data hypothesizing that male reproductive failure may act as a precursor of future andrological malignancies, including testicular or prostate cancer, thus providing a stimulus for a more specific research in male reproductive health and emphasizing the importance of this relation for physicians taking care of male patients with a reproductive disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Reproductive Biology)
Open AccessReview Maternal–Fetal Nutrient Transport in Pregnancy Pathologies: The Role of the Placenta
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(9), 16153-16185; doi:10.3390/ijms150916153
Received: 28 July 2014 / Revised: 3 September 2014 / Accepted: 4 September 2014 / Published: 12 September 2014
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (2328 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Appropriate in utero growth is essential for offspring development and is a critical contributor to long-term health. Fetal growth is largely dictated by the availability of nutrients in maternal circulation and the ability of these nutrients to be transported into fetal circulation [...] Read more.
Appropriate in utero growth is essential for offspring development and is a critical contributor to long-term health. Fetal growth is largely dictated by the availability of nutrients in maternal circulation and the ability of these nutrients to be transported into fetal circulation via the placenta. Substrate flux across placental gradients is dependent on the accessibility and activity of nutrient-specific transporters. Changes in the expression and activity of these transporters is implicated in cases of restricted and excessive fetal growth, and may represent a control mechanism by which fetal growth rate attempts to match availability of nutrients in maternal circulation. This review provides an overview of placenta nutrient transport with an emphasis on macro-nutrient transporters. It highlights the changes in expression and activity of these transporters associated with common pregnancy pathologies, including intrauterine growth restriction, macrosomia, diabetes and obesity, as well as the potential impact of maternal diet. Molecular signaling pathways linking maternal nutrient availability and placenta nutrient transport are discussed. How sexual dimorphism affects fetal growth strategies and the placenta’s response to an altered intrauterine environment is considered. Further knowledge in this area may be the first step in the development of targeted interventions to help optimize fetal growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Reproductive Biology)

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessShort Communication Impact of Soluble HLA-G Levels and Endometrial NK Cells in Uterine Flushing Samples from Primary and Secondary Unexplained Infertile Women
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(3), 5510-5516; doi:10.3390/ijms16035510
Received: 11 December 2014 / Revised: 17 February 2015 / Accepted: 4 March 2015 / Published: 10 March 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (698 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this research was to determine the levels of human leukocyte antigen G (HLA-G) and endometrial Natural Killer ((e)NK) cell percentages in uterine flushing samples from primary and secondary infertile women. sHLA-G levels were lower in the uterine flushing samples [...] Read more.
The aim of this research was to determine the levels of human leukocyte antigen G (HLA-G) and endometrial Natural Killer ((e)NK) cell percentages in uterine flushing samples from primary and secondary infertile women. sHLA-G levels were lower in the uterine flushing samples from primary infertile women in comparison with women with secondary infertility. Lower CD56+KIR2DL4+ (e)NK cell percentages were detected in primary infertile women compared with secondary infertile women. This is the first study demonstrating that primary and secondary unexplained infertilities are characterized by different basal sHLA-G levels and CD56+KIR2DL4+ (e)NK cell percentages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Reproductive Biology)

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