Interpretive Summary: Bioactive supplements influencing bovine in vitro embryo development
By: Lydia K Wooldridge, Jessica A Keane, Michelle L Rhoads, Alan D Ealy
Ovum pickup and in-vitro production (IVP) of bovine embryos have quickly become commercial options for generating large quantities of transferable bovine embryos from genetically elite sires and dams. However, 2 limitations in this process still exist. First, the percentage of eggs/oocytes that become fertilized and produce transferable embryos remains low. Second, IVP embryos that are transferred to recipients are less able to maintain a viable pregnancy than embryo produced by other means. Various maternal, paternal, embryonic, and culture-related factors will influence IVP success. This review describes how both IVP embryo development and post-transfer embryo competency may be improved by supplementing hormones, growth factors, cytokines, steroids, and other bioactive factors found in the oviduct and uterus during early pregnancy. These factors are collectively termed as embryokines. Several embryokines will promote IVP embryo development, but only a few of these embryokines have been tested for their ability to improve post-embryo transfer pregnancy retention. More work is needed to explore the post-transfer consequences of adding embryokines. However, with that being said, all indications are that we are on the right track with identifying one and likely several embryokines that will improve IVP embryo development and post-transfer pregnancy retention in cattle.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science