The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 54: 675 - 681 (2010)

Vol 54, Issue 4

The effect of superovulation on the contributions of individual blastomeres from 2-cell stage CF1 mouse embryos to the blastocyst

Open Access | Original Article | Published: 30 November 2009

Mika Katayama1 and R. Michael Roberts*,1,2

1Division of Animal Sciences and 2Department of Biochemistry, Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA


It remains controversial whether blastomeres of 2-cell stage mouse embryos show bias in their contribution to the blastocyst and whether there is any effect of superovulation. Two-cell stage embryos from CF1 mice were derived by either natural breeding (N) or superovulation (S) and cultured in vitro. At blastocyst, inner cell mass and trophectoderm were distinguished by Cdx2 and Oct4 immunostaining. A fluorescent dye (CM-Dil) was also used to tag individual blastomeres at the 2-cell stage, and the descendant cells identified by their red fluorescence. S and N embryos developed to blastocyst at the same rate and contained a similar number of cells. However, with S embryos, the descendants of the blastomere labeled with CM-DiI contributed predominantly to either the embryonic or abembryonic pole about 70% of the time, whereas most N embryos displayed random patterning, with no restriction to one or other of the poles. In S-embryos, but not N-embryos, the leading blastomere at second cleavage contributed preferentially to the embryonic pole of the blastocyst and the lagging blastomere to the abembryonic pole and hence mural trophectoderm. In addition, a tetrahedral rather than a “flat” morphology at the 4-cell stage of S-embryos was strongly biased to displaying the embryonic/abembryonic pattern at blastocyst. In contrast, S-embryos lacking a zona pellucida resembled N embryos in their patterning. In CF1 mice, superovulation has little effect on development to blastocyst, but enforces a greater degree of lineage restriction than natural breeding, most likely through constraints imposed by the zona pellucida.


Cdx2, Oct4, inner cell mass, trophectoderm, CM-DiI

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