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A new culture system of endometrial cells to study maternal/fetal communication in cattle

Grant number: 18/14137-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): October 30, 2018
Effective date (End): October 29, 2019
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Veterinary Medicine - Animal Reproduction
Principal Investigator:Flávio Vieira Meirelles
Grantee:Tiago Henrique Camara de Bem
Supervisor: Niamh Mary Forde
Host Institution: Faculdade de Zootecnia e Engenharia de Alimentos (FZEA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Pirassununga , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Leeds, England  
Associated to the scholarship:16/22790-1 - Extracellular vesicles in inter-embryonic and maternal-embryonic communication during in vitro development of bovine embryos, BP.PD


In cattle, approximately 40% of all pregnancies are lost early during the first stages of pregnancies. The high rate of gestational loss is usually due to inefficient communication between the conceptus and mother. Thus, reducing embryonic losses through better understanding of embryonic signals can contribute significantly to the in vitro embryo production system by increasing efficiency and reducing costs to producers in a wide range of production systems not only in Brazil, but throughout the world. In this away, to overall aim is to establish a 3D culture system to test in vitro conceptus-maternal interactions during early stages of pregnancy in cattle. Additionally, to establish and validate a micro-fluidics system to test maternal stressors in vitro. Briefly, the endometrium will be dissected from the uterine horn ipsilateral to the corpus luteum. Dissected tissue will be incubated in digest solution and the resulting cell pellet, containing epithelial and stromal cells, will re-suspended in culture media. The heterogeneous cell population will be seeded at 1×105 cells/mL into 75 cm2 culture flasks. In parallel, cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) containing compact cumulus cell layers and homogeneous cytoplasm will be selected and matured in vitro in groups of 15-20 COCs. After 22-24h of maturation the COCs will be fertilized with the thawed semen from the same bull and batch and prepared according to the Percoll gradient technique. The IVF blastocysts will cultured with endometrial cells in a conventional 2D monolayer culture versus a 3D cell culture system. Additionally, the cells and blastocysts will be also culture in a micro-fluidic device system to test the effect of maternal stressors on conceptus-maternal interactions in vitro. All the cultures will be incubated at 38°C in a humidified incubator with 5% CO2 in air. In this study, we will analyze the influence of culture system in the gene expression of endometrial cells and in blastocysts cultured in a conventional 2D monolayer culture versus a 3D on impact of cell function by genome-wide expression profiling using RNA-sequencing. Also, will be analyzed the ability of this Micro-fluidic Device System to support early embryo development as well as effects of exposure to conceptus-derived proteins will be assessed.

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
DE BEM, TIAGO H. C.; TINNING, HAIDEE; VASCONCELOS, ELTON J. R.; WANG, DAPENG; FORDE, NIAMH. Endometrium On-a-Chip Reveals Insulin-and Glucose-induced Alterations in the Transcriptome and Proteomic Secretome. Endocrinology, v. 162, n. 6, . (18/14137-1, 16/22790-1)

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