Colony-stimulating factor 2 (CSF2) is an embryokine that improves competence of the embryo to establish pregnancy and which may participate in developmental programming. We tested whether culture of bovine embryos with CSF2 alters fetal development and alleviates abnormalities associated with in vitro production (IVP) of embryos. Pregnancies were established by artificial insemination (AI), transfer of an IVP embryo (IVP), or transfer of an IVP embryo treated with 10 ng/ml CSF2 from day 5 to 7 of development (CSF2). Pregnancies were produced using X-sorted semen. Female singleton conceptuses were collected on day 86 of gestation. There were few morphological differences between groups, although IVP and CSF2 fetuses were heavier than AI fetuses. Bicarbonate concentration in allantoic fluid was lower for IVP than for AI or CSF2. Expression of 92 genes in liver, placenta, and muscle was determined. The general pattern for liver and placenta was for IVP to alter expression and for CSF2 to sometimes reverse this effect. For muscle, CSF2 affected gene expression but did not generally reverse effects of IVP. Levels of methylation for each of the three tissues at 12 loci in the promoter of insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) and five in the promoter of growth factor receptor bound protein 10 were unaffected by treatment except for CSF2 effects on two CpG for IGF2 in placenta and muscle. In conclusion, CSF2 can act as a developmental programming agent but alone is not able to abolish the adverse effects of IVP on fetal characteristics.
Production of embryos in vitro (IVP) is associated with alterations in fetal morphology and gene expression at day 86 of gestation; addition of CSF2 to embryo culture altered features of the fetus but did not abolish abnormalities associated with IVP.