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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Livestock Bio-Systems » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #406760

Research Project: Applying Nutritional Strategies to Improve Early Embryonic Development and Progeny Performance in Beef Cows

Location: Livestock Bio-Systems

Title: Embryo transfer medium supplemented with bovine plasminogen increases zona pellucida diameter and decreases thickness

item Snider, Alexandria - Alex
item Cushman, Robert - Bob
item Wright, Elane
item Crouse, Matthew
item Miles, Jeremy
item MENINO, JR., ALFRED - Oregon State University

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/28/2023
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Although multiple factors determine embryo transfer success in pregnancy establishment, transfer medium has an important role. Prior research in our lab demonstrated greater zona pellucida (ZP) diameter and reduced ZP thickness in embryos cultured for 2hr in medium containing bovine plasminogen. Thus, our hypothesis is supplementation of embryo transfer medium with plasminogen will soften the ZP, allowing for greater blastocyst expansion and hatching, potentially improving embryo transfer success. Two separate experiments were performed. In the first experiment, 4 cross-bred Angus cows were superovulated using a standard protocol and embryos were collected at day 7. Bovine plasminogen was assayed to determine plasmin activity and 200ug/ml were selected. Good to excellent embryos (n=11) were cultured in either Ham’s F-12 with 1.5% BSA, 1% antibiotic-antimycotic (AB/AM, 25 mM HEPES) and 200 ug/ml bovine plasminogen (enhanced transfer medium, ETM1) or DPBS with 10% heat-treated fetal calf serum (control transfer medium, CTM1) for 2hr at 38.5C in a humidified atmosphere of 5% CO2 in air. To assess hatching rates, embryos from both treatments were cultured for an additional 192hr in Ham’s F-12 with 1.5% BSA and 1% AB/AM and ZP were measured at the end of culture. In the second experiment, 21 Angus cows were superovulated using a standard protocol and collected embryos at day 7. Bovine plasminogen was assayed for plasmin activity and demonstrated greater activity than experiment 1. To ensure no detrimental effects to the embryos, the concentration was halved with a shorter culture time compared to experiment 1. Good to excellent embryos (n=114) were cultured in embryo transfer medium with 100ug/ml bovine plasminogen (ETM2) or without (CTM1) for 1hr at 38.5C, in a humidified atmosphere of 5% CO2 in air. Embryos were cultured in a control culture medium for 168hr to monitor hatching rate and ZP were measured at the end of culture. Percent data was analyzed using the GLIMMIX procedure in SAS with a logit function, and measurement data was analyzed using the MIXED procedure in SAS. No differences were observed in hatching rates in either experiment (P>0.1). ZP diameters were greater, and thicknesses were reduced in embryos cultured in ETM1 compared to CTM1 (P<0.05) in the first experiment. In the second experiment, ZP diameters were larger (P<0.05) and tended to be thinner (P=0.1) in embryos cultured in ETM2 compared CTM2. Observations of thinner ZP with greater diameters in this research suggest transfer medium with bovine plasminogen promotes greater blastocyst expansion which may facilitate in utero hatching and improve overall pregnancy rates following transfer. Future research is warranted to investigate pregnancy success with in-vivo and in-vitro derived embryos transferred in ETM2.