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Theriogenology. 2010 Mar 15;73(5):595-604. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2009.10.015. Epub 2009 Dec 24.

Effect of the association of IGF-I, IGF-II, bFGF, TGF-beta1, GM-CSF, and LIF on the development of bovine embryos produced in vitro.

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Laboratoire de Pathologie de la Reproduction et Biotechnologie animale, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Nantes, Nantes, France.


This study examined the influence of the following growth factors and cytokines on early embryonic development: insulin-like growth factors I and II (IGF-I, IGF-II), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), transforming growth factor (TGF-beta), granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), and leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF). Synthetic oviduct fluid (SOF) was used as the culture medium. We studied the development of bovine embryos produced in vitro and cultured until Day 9 after fertilization. TGF-beta1, bFGF, GM-CSF, and LIF used on their own significantly improved the yield of hatched blastocysts. IGF-I, bFGF, TGF-beta1, GM-CSF, and LIF significantly accelerated embryonic development, especially the change from the expanded blastocyst to hatched blastocyst stages. Use of a combination of these growth factors and cytokines (GF-CYK) in SOF medium produced higher percentages of blastocysts and hatched blastocysts than did use of SOF alone (45% and 22% vs. 24% and 12%; P<0.05) on Day 8 after in vitro fertilization and similar results to use of SOF+10% fetal calf serum (38% and 16%, at the same stages, respectively). The averages of total cells, inner cell mass cells, and trophectoderm cells of exclusively in vitro Day-8 blastocysts for pooled GF-CYK treatments were higher than those for SOF and similar to those for fetal calf serum. The presence of these growth factors and cytokines in the embryo culture medium therefore has a combined stimulatory action on embryonic development; in particular through an increase in hatching rate and in the number of cells of both the inner cell mass and trophoblast. These results are the first to demonstrate that use of a combination of recombinant growth factors and cytokine, as IGF-I, IGF-II, bFGF, TGF-beta1, LIF, and GM-CSF, produces similar results to 10% fetal calf serum for the development of in vitro-produced bovine embryos. This entirely synthetic method of embryo culture has undeniable advantages for the biosecurity of embryo transfer.

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