• Hilde Nelis
  • Katharina D’Herde
  • Karen Goossens
  • Lynn Vandenberghe
  • Katrien Forier
  • Katrien Smits
  • Kevin Braeckmans
  • Luc Peelman
  • Ann Van Soom

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Equine embryos remain for 6 days in the oviduct and thus there is a need for an in vitro model to study embryo–
oviductal interactions in the horse, since this subtle way of communication is very difficult to analyse in vivo. Until now, no
equine oviduct explant culture model has been characterised both morphologically and functionally. Therefore, we
established a culture system for equine oviduct explants that maintained epithelial morphology during 6 days of culture, as
revealed by light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. We demonstrated the presence of highly differentiated,
tall columnar, pseudostratified epithelium with basal nuclei, numerous nucleoli, secretory granules and apical cilia,
which is very similar to the in vivo situation. Both epithelium and stromal cells originating from the lamina propria are
represented in the explants. Moreover, at least 98% of the cells remained membrane intact and fewer than 2% of the cells
were apoptotic after 6 days of culture. Although dark-cell degeneration, which is a hypoxia-related type of cell death, was
observed in the centre of the explants, quantitative real-time PCR failed to detect upregulation of the hypoxia-related
marker genes HIF1A, VEGFA, uPA, GLUT1 and PAI1. Since the explants remained morphologically and functionally
intact and since the system is easy to set up, it appears to be an excellent tool for proteome, transcriptome and miRNome
analysis in order to unravel embryo–maternal interactions in the horse.
Original languageEnglish
JournalReproduction, Fertility, and Development
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)954-966
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 1-Aug-2014

ID: 3023564