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ISSN 2052-1472 (online)

Reproduction Abstracts (2014) 1 P336 | DOI: 10.1530/repabs.1.P336

Autophagy supports the survival of the conceptus obtained by assisted reproductive technologies

Paola Toschi, Marta Czernik, Federica Zacchini, Pasqualino Loi & Grazyna Ewa Ptak


University of Teramo, Teramo, Italy.


Assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) are generally considered to be safe, but recent studies suggest an excess of negative pregnancy outcomes. The mechanisms responsible for adverse events share similar condition like abnormal placentation, which finally leads to impaired embryo growth due to limited nutrient uptake. High autophagy activation was reported in placentae obtained from normal and compromised pregnancies. Given the evidence of placental abnormalities in pregnancies obtained by in vitro-protocols, the aim of this work was to investigate if autophagy influences the development of in vitro-produced (IVP) sheep foetuses. We have compared early sheep placentae collected after natural mating (CTR) with placentae obtained following transfer of IVP embryo. Our ultrastructural (TEM) and molecular (qPCR) analysis revealed a high proportion of autophagic cells and an upregulation of autophagic markers in early IVP placentae. The increased autophagy activation may be attributed to a compensatory mechanism resulting from placental self-adaptation to the limited nutrient uptake associated with the application of ART.

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