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    Pig embryo transfer (ET) is burdened by high embryo mortality, with cytokines playing a significant role in recruitment of immune cells during embryo attachment and placentation. We hereby tested if their levels in endometrium and placenta from sows carrying hemi-allogeneic (artificially inseminated sows; C+ positive control) or allogeneic embryos (sows subjected to ET; ET) during peri-implantation (D18) or post-implantation (D24) are suitable mirrors of embryo rejection or tolerance after ET. Non-pregnant sows (C-) were used as negative controls. A set of cytokines was assayed in the tissues through multiplexed microsphere-based flow cytometry (Luminex xMAP, Millipore. USA). Fewer (58.7%. p < 0.003) conceptuses were recovered at D24 after ET compared to C+ (80.9%); with more than 20% of the ET conceptuses being developmentally delayed. Cytokine levels shifted during implantation. Anti-inflammatory IL-10 levels were significantly (p < 0.05) lower in ET sows compared to C+ at D24 of pregnancy. The C+ controls (carrying hemi-allogeneic embryos) consistently showed higher levels of pro-inflammatory TNF-α, IFN-γ, and IL-2 cytokines at D18 and IL-1α at D24, compared to the ET group. This clear dysregulation of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine levels in sows subjected to ET could be associated with an impaired maternal immune tolerance, explaining the high embryonic mortality of ET programs.


    Cristina A Martinez, Marie Rubér, Heriberto Rodriguez-Martinez, Manuel Alvarez-Rodriguez. Pig Pregnancies after Transfer of Allogeneic Embryos Show a Dysregulated Endometrial/Placental Cytokine Balance: A Novel Clue for Embryo Death? Biomolecules. 2020 Apr 05;10(4)

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    PMID: 32260537

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