Lysophosphatidic acid improves development of porcine somatic cell nuclear transfer embryos
This study was conducted to investigate whether lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) could improve the development of porcine somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) embryos. Porcine SCNT-derived embryos were cultured in chemically defined polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)-based porcine zygote medium (PZM)-4 without or with LPA, and the development, cell proliferation potential, apoptosis, and expression levels of pluripotent markers were evaluated. LPA significantly increased the rates of cleavage and blastocyst formation compared to those seen in the LPA un-treatment (control) group. The expression levels of embryonic development-related genes (IGF2R, PCNA and CDH1) were higher (P < 0.05) in the LPA treatment group than in the control group. LPA significantly increased the numbers of total, inner cell mass and EdU (5-ethynyl-2’-deoxyuridine)-positive cells in porcine SCNT blastocysts compared to those seen in the control group. TUNEL assay showed that LPA significantly reduced the apoptosis rate in porcine SCNT-derived embryos; this was confirmed by decreases (P < 0.05) in the expression levels of pro-apoptotic genes, BAX and CASP3, and an increase (P < 0.05) in the expression level of the anti-apoptotic gene, BCL2L1. In addition, LPA significantly increased Oct4 expression at the gene and protein levels. Together, our data suggest that LPA improves the quality and development of porcine SCNT-derived embryos by reducing apoptosis and enhancing cell proliferation and pluripotency.