Special Issue "Unsolved Problems in Reproductive Biology - Current and Forthcoming Advances in Assisted Reproduction Technologies"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Reproduction".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Alberto Maria Luciano
Website
Guest Editor
Università degli Studi di Milano, Department of Health, Animal Science and Food Safety Reproductive and Developmental Biology Lab (www.redbiolab.unimi.it) Milan, Italy
Interests: Reproductive Biology; Developmental Biology; Ovary; Follicle; Oocyte; Embryo; Assisted Reproductive Technologies; Animal Reproduction, Fertility

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Although assisted reproduction technologies (ART) have had a significant boost over the past three decades, the propulsive thrust seems to have come to a halt. The advancement of new strategies aimed at increasing reproductive efficiency mainly relates to species-specificity and sometimes to the insufficient quality of gametes available for in vitro techniques.

Firstly, while the different species share general principles of reproductive biology, substantial differences in the biology of the gametes might exist between species. As a consequence, the techniques and strategies successfully applied in a given species are not immediately transferable to another one. Secondly, in addition to individual biological variability, the poor quality of the gametes intended for ART and the difficulty of reproducing in vitro the conditions suitable to ensure the correct functionality of the gametes are critical limiting factors.

We invite original research papers and review articles that address the improvement of reproductive performance with innovative approaches and/or proofs of principle studies. The overall aim is to shed light on animal reproductive biology and increase the translational aspects of assisted reproduction technologies both in animal breeding, conservation of threatened species and the human clinic.

Prof. Alberto Maria Luciano
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short 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 thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals 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 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Reproductive biology
  • Developmental biology
  • Ovary
  • Follicle
  • Oocyte
  • Testes
  • Sperm
  • Embryo
  • Assisted Reproductive Technologies
  • Fertility preservation
  • Cryopreservation
  • Conservation of threatened animal species
  • Animal reproduction
  • Fertility
  • Gametogenesis
  • Implantation, placenta, uterus
  • Reproductive aging
  • Endocrine disruptors
  • Intergenerational and transgenerational effect

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Anti-Oxidative Effects of Human Adipose Stem Cell Conditioned Medium with Different Basal Medium during Mouse Embryo In Vitro Culture
Animals 2020, 10(8), 1414; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081414 - 13 Aug 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The quality of embryos produced by assisted reproductive techniques should be advanced by the improvement of in vitro culture conditions for successful implantation and pregnancy maintenance. We investigated the anti-oxidative effect of human adipose stem cell (ASC) conditioned medium with its optimal basal [...] Read more.
The quality of embryos produced by assisted reproductive techniques should be advanced by the improvement of in vitro culture conditions for successful implantation and pregnancy maintenance. We investigated the anti-oxidative effect of human adipose stem cell (ASC) conditioned medium with its optimal basal medium, Dulbecco′s modified Eagle′s medium (DMEM-CM), or keratinocyte serum-free medium (KSFM-CM) as supplements during in vitro culture (IVC) of in vitro fertilized mouse embryo. At first, preimplantation embryo development was evaluated in KSFM-CM and DMEM-CM supplemented cultures at various concentrations. The blastocyst (BL) and hatched BL formation rates were significantly increased in 5% DMEM-CM, while no difference was observed from KSFM-CM. Next, comparing the efficacy of KSFM-CM and DMEM-CM at the same concentration, DMEM-CM enhanced the developmental rate of 16 cells, morula, BL, and hatched BL. The expression level of reactive oxygen species decreased and that of glutathione increased in BL cultured with DMEM-CM, which confirms its anti-oxidative effect. Furthermore, apoptosis in BL cultured with DMEM-CM was reduced compared with that in KSFM-CM. This study demonstrated that the comparative effect of human ASC-CM made of two different basal media during mouse embryo IVC and anti-oxidative effect of 5% DMEM-CM was optimal to improve preimplantation embryo development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Short-Term Inhibition of Rho Kinase on Dromedary Camel Oocyte In Vitro Maturation
Animals 2020, 10(5), 750; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050750 - 25 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
This is the first report on a biphasic in vitro maturation (IVM) approach with a meiotic inhibitor to improve dromedary camel IVM. Spontaneous meiotic resumption poses a major setback for in vitro matured oocytes. The overall objective of this study was to improve [...] Read more.
This is the first report on a biphasic in vitro maturation (IVM) approach with a meiotic inhibitor to improve dromedary camel IVM. Spontaneous meiotic resumption poses a major setback for in vitro matured oocytes. The overall objective of this study was to improve in vitro maturation of dromedary camel oocytes using ROCK inhibitor (Y-27632) in a biphasic IVM to prevent spontaneous meiotic resumption. In the first experiment, we cultured immature cumulus–oocyte complexes (COCs, n = 375) in a prematuration medium supplemented with ROCK inhibitor (RI) for 2 h, 4 h, 6 h, and 24 h before submission to normal in vitro maturation to complete 28 h. The control was cultured for 28 h in the absence of RI. In the first phase of experiment two, we cultured COCs (n = 480) in the presence or absence (control) of RI for 2 h, 4 h, 6 h, and 24 h, and conducted real-time relative quantitative PCR (qPCR) on selected mRNA transcripts. The same was done in the second phase, but qPCR was done after completion of normal IVM. Assessment of nuclear maturation showed that pre-IVM for 4 h yielded an increase in MII oocyte (54.67% vs. 26.6% of control; p < 0.05). As expected, the same group showed the highest degree (2) of cumulus expansion. In experiment 2, qPCR results showed significantly higher expression of ACTB and BCL2 in the RI group treated for 4 h when compared with the other groups. However, their relative quantification after biphasic IVM did not reveal any significant difference, except for the positive response of BCL2 and BAX/BCL2 ratio after 4 and 6 h biphasic IVM. In conclusion, RI prevents premature oocyte maturation and gave a significantly positive outcome during the 4 h treatment. This finding is a paradigm for future investigation on dromedary camel biphasic IVM and for improving the outcome of IVM in this species. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Exogenous Oleic Acid and Palmitic Acid Improve Boar Sperm Motility via Enhancing Mitochondrial Β-Oxidation for ATP Generation
Animals 2020, 10(4), 591; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040591 - 31 Mar 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
It takes several hours for mammalian sperm to migrate from the ejaculation or insemination site to the fertilization site in the female reproductive tract in which glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids are regarded as the primary substrates for ATP generation. The present [...] Read more.
It takes several hours for mammalian sperm to migrate from the ejaculation or insemination site to the fertilization site in the female reproductive tract in which glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids are regarded as the primary substrates for ATP generation. The present study was designed to investigate whether oleic acid and palmitic acid were beneficial to boar sperm in vitro; and if yes, to elucidate the mechanism that regulates sperm motility. Therefore, the levels of oleic acid and palmitic acid, motility, membrane integrity, acrosome integrity, and apoptosis of sperm were evaluated. Moreover, the enzymes involved in mitochondrial β-oxidation (CPT1: carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1; ACADVL: long-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase) were detected with immunofluorescence and Western blotting. Consequently, the ATP content and the activities of CPT1, ACADVL, malate dehydrogenase (MDH), and succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) were also measured. We observed that CPT1 and ACADVL were expressed in boar sperm and localized in the midpiece. The levels of oleic acid and palmitic acid were decreased during storage at 17 °C. The addition of oleic acid and palmitic acid significantly increased sperm motility, progressive motility, straight-line velocity (VSL), membrane integrity, and acrosome integrity with a simultaneous decrease in sperm apoptosis after seven days during storage. When sperm were incubated with oleic acid and palmitic acid at 37 °C for 3 h, the activities of CPT1 and ACADVL, the ATP level, the mitochondrial membrane potential, the activities of MDH and SDH, as well as sperm motility patterns were significantly increased compared to the control (p < 0.05). Moreover, the addition of etomoxir to the diluted medium in the presence of either oleic acid or palmitic acid and the positive effects of oleic acid and palmitic acid were counteracted. Together, these data suggest that boar sperm might utilize oleic acid and palmitic acid as energy substrates for ATP production via β-oxidation. The addition of these acids could improve sperm quality. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Expression of FOXL2 and RSPO1 in Hen Ovarian Follicles and Implication of Exogenous Leptin in Modulating Their mRNA Expression in In Vitro Cultured Granulosa Cells
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1083; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121083 - 04 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this study, using a laying hen model, we determined the expression of FOXL2 and RSPO1 in different central and peripheral tissue and ovarian follicles at different stages of development. At the same time, mRNA expression of both genes in granulosa and theca [...] Read more.
In this study, using a laying hen model, we determined the expression of FOXL2 and RSPO1 in different central and peripheral tissue and ovarian follicles at different stages of development. At the same time, mRNA expression of both genes in granulosa and theca cells harvested from follicles at different stages of folliculogenesis was also evaluated. Finally, we assessed the effect of leptin treatment on expression of FOXL2 and RSPO1 in in vitro cultured granulosa cells harvested from 1–5 mm to F3–F1 follicles. Our RT-qPCR results revealed that a comparatively higher expression of FOXL2 and RSPO1 was observed in ovary, hypothalamus, and pituitary. Abundant mRNA expression of FOXL2 was observed in small prehierarchical follicles (1–1.9 and 2–2.9 mm follicles; p < 0.05), whereas mRNA expression of RSPO1 showed an increasing trend in large hierarchical follicles (F5–F1), and its abundant expression was observed in post-ovulatory follicles. FOXL2 mRNA expression was stable in granulosa cells harvested from 3–5 mm to F4 follicles, and exhibited a significantly higher expression in large hierarchical follicles. Conversely, relatively low mRNA expression of FOXL2 was observed in theca cells. RSPO1 mRNA expression was relatively lower in granulosa cells; however, theca cells exhibited a significantly higher mRNA expression of RSPO1 in F4 to F1 follicles. In the next experiment, we treated the in vitro cultured granulosa cells with different concentrations (1, 10, 100, and 1000 ng/mL) of exogenous leptin. Compared to the control group, a significant increase in the expression of FOXL2 was observed in groups treated with 1, 10, and 100 ng/mL leptin, whereas expression of RSPO1 was increased in all leptin-treated groups. When treated with 100 ng/mL leptin, FOXL2 and RSPO1 expression was upregulated in cultured granulosa cells harvested from both large hierarchical (F3–F1) and small prehierarchical follicles (1–5 mm). Based on these findings and evidence from mainstream literature, we envisage that FOXL2 and RSPO1 genes (in connection with hypothalamic-hypophysis axis) and leptin (via modulation of FOXL2 and RSPO1 expression) might have significant physiological roles, at least in part, in modulating the ovarian mechanisms, such as follicle development, selection, and steroidogenesis in laying hens. Full article
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