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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Insulin during in vitro oocyte maturation has an impact on development, mitochondria, and cytoskeleton in bovine day 8 blastocysts

Laskowski, Denise; Bage, Renee; Humblot, Patrice; Andersson, Goran; Sirard, Marc-Andre; Sjunnesson, Ylva


Insulin is a key metabolic hormone that controls energy homeostasis in the body, including playing a specific role in regulating reproductive functions. Conditions associated with hyperinsulinemia can lower developmental rates in bovine in vitro embryo production and are linked to decreased fertility in humans, as in cases of obesity or type 2 diabetes. Embryo quality is important for fertility outcome and it can be assessed by choosing scoring standards for various characteristics, such as developmental stage, quality grade, cell number, mitochondrial pattern or actin cytoskeleton structure. Changes in the embryo's gene expression can reflect environmental impacts during maturation and may explain morphological differences. Together with morphological evaluation, this could enable better assessment and possibly prediction of the developmental potential of the embryo. The aim of this study was to use a bovine model to identify potential gene signatures of insulin-induced changes in the embryo by combining gene expression data and confocal microscopy evaluation. Bovine embryos were derived from oocytes matured in two different insulin concentrations (10 mu g mL(-1) and 0.1 mu g mL(-1)), then stained to distinguish f-Actin, DNA and active mitochondria. The total cell number of the embryo, quality of the actin cytoskeleton and mitochondrial distribution were assessed and compared to an insulin-free control group. A microarray-based transcriptome analysis was used to investigate key genes involved in cell structure, mitochondrial function and cell division. Our results indicate that insulin supplementation during oocyte maturation leads to lower blastocyst rates and a different phenotype, characterised by an increased cell number and different actin and mitochondrial distribution patterns. These changes were reflected by an up-regulation of genes involved in cell division (MAP2K2; DHCR7), cell structure (LMNA; VIM; TUBB2B; TUBB3; TUBB4B) and mitochondrial activation (ATP5D; CYP11A1; NDUFB7; NDUFB10; NDUFS8). Taken together, we hypothesise that the increased proliferation in the insulin-treated groups might impair the developmental potential of the embryos by inducing metabolic stress on the molecular level, which could be detrimental for the survival of the embryo. (C) 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Mitochondrial stress; Embryo morphology; Obesity; Embryo development; Gene expression

Published in

2017, Volume: 101, pages: 15-25