This study examined the effect of the presence of single or multiple embryos on the transcriptome of the bovine oviduct. In experiment 1, cyclic (nonbred, n = 6) and pregnant (artificially inseminated, n = 11) heifers were slaughtered on Day 3 after estrus, and the ampulla and isthmic regions of the oviduct ipsilateral to the corpus luteum were separately flushed. Oviductal epithelial cells from the isthmus region, in which all oocytes/embryos were located, were snap-frozen for microarray analysis. In experiment 2, heifers were divided into cyclic (nonbred, n = 6) or pregnant (multiple embryo transfer, n = 10) groups. In vitro-produced presumptive zygotes were transferred endoscopically to the ipsilateral oviduct on Day 1.5 postestrus (n = 50 zygotes/heifer). Heifers were slaughtered on Day 3, and oviductal isthmus epithelial cells were recovered for RNA sequencing. Microarray analysis in experiment 1 failed to detect any difference in the transcriptome of the oviductal isthmus induced by the presence of a single embryo. In experiment 2, following multiple embryo transfer, RNA sequencing revealed 278 differentially expressed genes, of which 123 were up-regulated and 155 were down-regulated in pregnant heifers. Most of the down-regulated genes were related to immune function. In conclusion, the presence of multiple embryos in the oviduct resulted in the detection of differentially expressed genes in the oviductal isthmus; failure to detect changes in the oviduct transcriptome in the presence of a single embryo may be due to the effect being local and undetectable under the conditions of this study.
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Vol. 92 • No. 6