UROKINASE-TYPE PLASMINOGEN ACTIVATOR DOES NOT AFFECT IN VITRO BOVINE EMBRYO DEVELOPMENT AND QUALITY
The effects of modification of the in vitro embryo culture media (IVC) with the addition of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (u-PA) on the yield and/or quality of bovine embryos were examined in two experiments. In Experiment 1, denuded embryos were cultured in semi-defined synthetic oviductal fluid (SOF) for seven days, while in Experiment 2 embryos were co-cultured with cumulus cell monolayer in a serum-containing SOF medium. Plasminogen activator activity (PAA) and plasminogen activator inhibition (PAI) were determined in all spent IVC media. At the activity used (5 IU/ml), u-PA had no effect either on in vitro embryo production rates or on embryo quality as revealed by gene expression analysis of 10 important mRNA transcripts related to apoptosis, oxidation, implantation and metabolism. PAA and PAI analysis indicated the need for well-balanced plasminogen activators and inhibitors as a culture environment for embryo development. However, more research is needed to unveil the mechanism by which u-PA is involved in in vitro embryo production systems.