Effects of Flunixin Meglunim and Prostaglandin F2α Treatments on the Development and Quality of Bovine Embryos in Vitro

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Reproductions in Domestic Animals

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Assisted reproduction procedures, such as embryo transfer (ET) and artificial insemination (AI), in cattle could induce the secretion of prostaglandin F2-alpha (PGF2α) from uterine horns which may in turn interrupt embryo development and implantation. This study investigated the effect of flunixin meglumine (FM), prostaglandin F2 alpha (PGF2α) and FM combined with PGF2α supplementation in culture medium (IVC-II) on the development and quality of in vitro produced bovine embryos. The development rate of embryos was significantly higher in the FM group (33.3%) than in control (24.3%), PGF2α (23.9%) and FM + PGF2α groups (24.5%). The percentage of hatched blastocysts was also higher (p < 0.05) in the FM group (41.2%) than in the control (27.8%) and PGF2α groups (19.8%). While, there was no significant difference in total cell number in all experimental groups, the number of apoptotic cells was significantly higher in the PGF2α group (8.2 ± 6.6) than in the control (4.7 ± 3.2), FM (4.7 ± 2.5) and FM + PGF2α (4.9 ± 3.4) groups. Detected by real-time PCR, secreted vesicle seminal protein 1 (SSLP1) and prostaglandin G/H synthase 2 (PTGS2) gene expression decreased (p < 0.05) in the PGF2α group. However, SSLP1 and PTGS2 gene expression in the FM + PGF2α group returned to their baseline levels, similar to the control and FM groups. Caspase 3 (CAPS3) gene expression increased in the PGF2α group compared with other groups (p < 0.05). In conclusion, addition of FM in vitro culture significantly improved embryo development as well as alleviated the negative impact of PGF2α.