, Volume 183, Issue 2, pp 119-128

Effect of in vitro culture on the dynamics of uteroglobin distribution in rabbit blastocysts

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the localization and transport of uteroglobin in normal rabbit blastocysts (day 4-day 6 p.c.) and in those cultured for 6–48 h in vitro, using a specific radioimmunoassay and immunocytochemistry. The results of the radioimmunoassay showed that in day 4 p.c. blastocyst tissue (based on homogenate measurements) a significant decrease of the uteroglobin content started after only 6 h of culture in vitro. A significant concomitant rise of uteroglobin was observed in the culture medium after 12 h of in vitro culture. Using immunocytochemistry it was not possible to detect uteroglobin in any compartment of the non-cultured or in vitro cultured day 4 p.c. blastocysts. The efflux of uteroglobin down a concentration gradient was confirmed by the immunocytochemistry in non-cultured and in vitro cultured day 5 p.c. and day 6 p.c. blastocysts. Uteroglobin immunoreactions were mainly detected in non-cultured blastocysts (day 5 and 6 p.c.) in large vesicles of the trophoblast cells. In addition endocytotic vesicles at the inside of the apical membrane of trophoblast cells, some cell debris within the perivitelline space and the neozona were labelled. During in vitro culture of day 5 and 6 p.c. blastocysts, uteroglobin labelling in the coverings did not change. In non-cultured and cultured day 5 and 6 p.c. blastocysts neither the compartments of the embryoblast, the endoderm cells nor the blastocyst cavity showed any uteroglobin immunoreactions. After only 6 h of in vitro culture, uteroglobin immunoreactions were no longer found within the trophoblast cells. The reaction did not reappear during the course of in vitro culture up to 48 h, suggesting a complete lack of de novo synthesis of uteroglobin by blastocysts.