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Theriogenology. 2013 Mar 15;79(5):815-23. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2012.12.010. Epub 2013 Jan 22.

Improvement of porcine cloning efficiency by trichostain A through early-stage induction of embryo apoptosis.

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State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, PR China.


Trichostain A (TSA), an inhibitor of histone deacetylases, improved developmental competence of SCNT embryos in many species, apparently by improved epigenetic reprogramming. The objective of the present study was to determine the effects of TSA-induced apoptosis in cloned porcine embryos. At various developmental stages, a comet assay and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick-end labeling staining were used to detect apoptosis, and real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to assess expression of genes related to apoptosis and pluripotency. In this study, TSA significantly induced apoptosis (in a dose-dependent manner) at the one-, two-, and four-cell stages. However, in blastocyst stage embryos, TSA decreased the apoptotic index (P < 0.05). Expression levels of Caspase 3 were higher in TSA-treated versus control embryos at the two-cell stage (not statistically significant). The expression ratio of antiapoptotic Bcl-xl gene to proapoptotic Bax gene, an indicator of antiapoptotic potential, was higher in TSA-treated groups at the one-, two-, and four-cell and blastocyst stages. Furthermore, expression levels of pluripotency-related genes, namely, Oct4 and Nanog, were elevated at the morula stage (P < 0.05) in TSA treatment groups. We concluded that inducing apoptosis might be a mechanism by which TSA promotes development of reconstructed embryos. At the initial stage of apoptosis induction, abnormal cells were removed, thereby enhancing proliferation of healthy cells and improving embryo quality.

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