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Reproduction. 2008 Sep;136(3):303-12. doi: 10.1530/REP-07-0394. Epub 2008 May 30.

Effects of pre-mating nutrition on mRNA levels of developmentally relevant genes in sheep oocytes and granulosa cells.

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  • 1Laboratory of Biomedical Embryology, Department of Animal Science, University of Milan, Via Celoria 10, 20133 Milano, Italy.


The present study was designed to investigate the relationship between pre-mating nutrition and the relative amounts of a panel of developmentally relevant genes in ovine oocytes and granulosa cells. Cast age ewes were fed a ration providing 0.5x (0.5 M) or 1.5x (1.5 M) live weight maintenance requirements for 2 weeks before slaughter. The ewes were synchronized and superovulated with FSH and pregnant mares serum gonadotropin. At slaughter, oocytes and granulosa cells were aspirated from follicles >2 mm in diameter and the relative abundance of 8 and 17 transcripts in oocytes and granulosa cells respectively were analyzed by semi-quantitative RT-PCR. In the oocytes, no differences between groups were observed for five transcripts (GDF9, BMP15, c-kit, glucose transporter 1 (SLC2A1), and hexokinase 1), but a lower amount of glucose transporter 3 (SLC2A3), sodium/glucose cotransporter 1 (SLC5A1), and Na(+)/K(+) ATPase mRNAs was detected in the 0.5 M group. Increased expression of PTGS2, HAS2, and the leptin receptor long form was observed in granulosa cells from the 0.5 M group. No differences between groups were observed for the other transcripts (early growth response factor-1, estrogen receptor-alpha, LH and FSH receptors, gremlin 1, pentraxin 3, KIT ligand, glucose transporters 1, 3, and 8, IGF1, IGF1 receptor, leptin receptor, and tumor necrosis factor-stimulated gene 6). Expression of leptin and sodium/glucose cotransporter 1 was not detected in both groups. The present data indicate that pre-mating nutrition is associated with alteration in the mRNA content in oocytes and surrounding follicle cells in ewes, which may account for the reduced reproductive performance typical of ewes that are fed a restricted ration for a short period of time before mating.

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