Baldoceda L, Gagné D, Ramires Ferreira C, and Robert C. (2015). Genetic influence on the reduction in bovine embryo lipid content by l-carnitine. Reproduction, Fertility and Development
The decreased rate of pregnancy obtained in cattle using frozen in vitro embryos compared with in vivo embryos has been associated with over-accumulation of intracellular lipid, which causes cell damage during cryopreservation. It is believed that the higher lipid content of blastomeres of bovine embryos produced in vitro results in darker-coloured cytoplasm, which could be a consequence of impaired mitochondrial function. In this study, l-carnitine was used as a treatment to reduce embryonic lipid content by increasing metabolism in cultured bovine embryos. We have observed previously that in vivo embryos of different dairy breeds collected from cows housed and fed under the same conditions differed in lipid content and metabolism. As such, breed effects between Holstein and Jersey were also examined in terms of general appearance, lipid composition, mitochondrial activity and gene expression. Adding l-carnitine to the embryo culture medium reduced the lipid content in both breeds due to increased mitochondrial activity. The response to l-carnitine was weaker in Jersey than in Holstein embryos. Our results thus show that genetics influence the response of bovine embryos to stimulation of mitochondrial metabolism.