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Unveiling how vitrification affects the porcine blastocyst: clues from a transcriptomic study

Abstract : Background: Currently, there is a high demand for efficient pig embryo cryopreservation procedures in the porcine industry as well as for genetic diversity preservation and research purposes. To date, vitrification (VIT) is the most efficient method for pig embryo cryopreservation. Despite a high number of embryos survives in vitro after vitrification/warming procedures, the in vivo embryo survival rates after embryo transfer are variable among laboratories. So far, most studies have focused on cryoprotective agents and devices, while the VIT effects on porcine embryonic gene expression remained unclear. The few studies performed were based on vitrified/warmed embryos that were cultured in vitro (IVC) to allow them to re-expand. Thus, the specific alterations of VIT, IVC, and the cumulative effect of both remained unknown. To unveil the VIT-specific embryonic alterations, gene expression in VIT versus (vs.) IVC embryos was analyzed. Additionally, changes derived from both VIT and IVC vs. control embryos (CO) were analyzed to confirm the VIT embryonic alterations. Three groups of in vivo embryos at the blastocyst stage were analyzed by RNA-sequencing: (1) VIT embryos (vitrified/warmed and cultured in vitro), (2) IVC embryos and (3) CO embryos. Results: RNA-sequencing revealed three clearly different mRNA profiles for VIT, IVC and CO embryos. Comparative analysis of mRNA profiles between VIT and IVC identified 321, differentially expressed genes (DEG) (FDR < 0.006). In VIT vs. CO and IVC vs. CO, 1901 and 1519 DEG were found, respectively, with an overlap of 1045 genes. VIT-specific functional alterations were associated to response to osmotic stress, response to hormones, and developmental growth. While alterations in response to hypoxia and mitophagy were related to the sum of VIT and IVC effects. Conclusions: Our findings revealed new insights into the VIT procedure-specific alterations of embryonic gene expression by first comparing differences in VIT vs. IVC embryos and second by an integrative transcriptome analysis including in vivo control embryos. The identified VIT alterations might reflect the transcriptional signature of the embryo cryodamage but also the embryo healing process overcoming the VIT impacts. Selected validated genes were pointed as potential biomarkers that may help to improve vitrification.
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Submitted on : Friday, April 1, 2022 - 3:59:00 PM
Last modification on : Friday, October 28, 2022 - 2:09:06 PM


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Carmen Almiñana, Florine Dubuisson, S. Bauersachs, E. Royer, Pascal Mermillod, et al.. Unveiling how vitrification affects the porcine blastocyst: clues from a transcriptomic study. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology , 2022, 13 (1), pp.1-21. ⟨10.1186/s40104-021-00672-1⟩. ⟨hal-03627949⟩



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