Mouse embryos at different stages of development were cocultured with human oviduct cells or cultured in the presence of oviduct-derived embryotrophic factor-1, -2, and -3 (ETF-1, -2, and -3) for various amounts of time within the preimplantation period. Cocultures that included the period from 48 to 72 h post-hCG stimulated cell division and increased the cell numbers in the inner cell mass (ICM) of the exposed blastocyst. Exposure of embryos to oviductal cells from 96 to 120 h post-hCG increased the cell number in the trophectoderm (TE), blastocyst size, hatching rate, attachment, and in vitro spreading of the blastocyst. ETF-1 and ETF-2 affected embryos between 48 and 72 h post-hCG by increasing the number of cells in the ICM. In contrast, ETF-3 had a more profound effect on embryos that were exposed from 96 to 120 h post-hCG, where it mostly affected the development of TE cells, leading to higher hatching rate. Human oviductal cells improved mouse embryo development partly by the production of high molecular weight embryotrophic factors. These factors had differential effects on mouse embryo development.
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