Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences


Christopher J. Davies


Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), or cloning, is a form of artificial reproductive technology that can be used to improve economic traits of domestic animals. However, extreme inefficiency of producing viable offspring via this method is a major limitation. An aggressive immune response at the maternal-fetal interface is an important reason for SCNT pregnancy loss. The goal of this project was to investigate the molecular mechanisms of immune-mediated miscarriage in cloned cattle pregnancies.

Many publications hint that immune-mediated miscarriage is associated with abnormal MHC-I expression in the placenta. The regulation of bovine MHC-I genes was systematically studied to identify the cause of abnormal MHC-I expression during immune-mediated miscarriage. We also produced cloned pregnancies to study immune- mediated pregnancy loss. MHC-I and cytokines involved in proinflammatory responses were highly expressed in the placental trophoblast cells of cloned fetuses and in the uterine endometrium of recipients carrying MHC-I incompatible fetuses, respectively, suggesting that MHC-I compatibility between fetus and surrogate mother is important for the success of animal cloning.

The results from this research not only reveal the cause of high pregnancy loss in cloned animals but also provide molecular clues to prevent immune-mediated miscarriage in cattle and potentially in human clinics.



Available for download on Wednesday, December 31, 2064