Implantation and early pregnancy, and the potential effects of the reproductive-hormone relaxin, were examined in the cynomolgus macaque (Macaca fascicularis) following in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer. Mature oocytes were collected from regularly cycling, female cynomolgus monkeys subjected to ovarian superovulation using recombinant human FSH and hCG. Oocytes fertilized in vitro were cultured to the 4- to 8-cell stage, slow-cooled, and stored in liquid nitrogen before thawing and embryo transfer. Regularly cycling recipients were administered recombinant human relaxin or vehicle for 21 days through the peri-implantation period (Day 0 = pump implantation), during which time the thawed embryos were transferred (Day 7). Endometrial thickness and the number of gestational sacs were monitored by ultrasound at three time points (Days 7, 21, and 28). The number of days of placental sign (implantation bleeding) in pregnant females and menses in nonpregnant females were also recorded. Implantation (gestational sacs/embryo transferred) and multiple pregnancy (multiple gestations/ pregnant recipient) rates were slightly higher in relaxin-treated recipients compared to vehicle-treated recipients. Administration of relaxin was associated with increased implantation bleeding in pregnant females. Endometrial thickness was increased in relaxin-treated recipients at Days 7 and 28 compared to Day 0, but these differences were not observed at the same time points in vehicle-treated females. Systemic administration of recombinant human relaxin in an in vitro fertilization/embryo transfer setting was associated with effects consistent with a role for this hormone in endometrial physiology in primates.
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