Novel aspects of endometrial function: a biological sensor of embryo quality and driver of pregnancy success.
Aberrant gene expression in the uterine endometrium and embryo has been the major causes of pregnancy failure in cattle. However, selecting cows having adequate endometrial receptivity and embryos of better developmental competence based on the gene expression pattern has been a greater challenge. To investigate whether pretransfer endometrial and embryo gene expression pattern has a direct relation with upcoming pregnancy success, we performed a global endometrial and embryo transcriptome analysis using endometrial and embryo biopsy technology and the pregnancy outcome information. For this, endometrial samples were collected from Simmental heifers at day 7 and 14 of the estrous cycle, one cycle prior to embryo transfer. In the next cycle, blastocyst stage embryos were transferred to recipients at day 7 of the estrous cycle after taking 30-40% of the blastocyst as a biopsy for transcriptome analysis. The results revealed that at day 7 of the estrous cycle, the endometrial gene expression pattern of heifers whose pregnancy resulting in calf delivery was significantly different compared with those resulting in no pregnancy. These differences were accompanied by qualitative and quantitative alteration of major biological process and molecular pathways. However, the transcriptome difference was minimal between the two groups of animals at day 14 of the estrous cycle. Similarly, the transcriptome analysis between embryos biopsies that resulted in calf delivery and those resulted in no pregnancy revealed a total of 70 differentially expressed genes. Among these, the transcript levels of 32 genes including SPAG17, PF6, UBE2D3P, DFNB31, AMD1, DTNBP1, and ARL8B were higher in embryo biopsies resulting in calf delivery. Therefore, the present study highlights the potential of pretransfer endometrial and embryo gene expression patterns as predictors of pregnancy success in cattle.