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Title: Altered protein and fatty acid composition of porcine follicular fluid due to a high fibre diet and the subsequent effects on oocyte maturation
Author: Jarrett, Selene
ISNI:       0000 0004 7654 9278
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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Background Ovarian follicular fluid serves as the microenvironment for a maturing oocyte prior to ovulation. Previous studies have shown that gilts fed a high fibre (HF) diet before ovulation have improved fertility compared to gilts fed a control (C) diet, including a higher proportion of metaphase II oocytes following in vitro maturation (IVM). Hypothesis The molecular composition of porcine follicular fluid (pFF) was altered by the diet and that these alterations conferred the fertility benefits. Aims The aim of this study was to compare the protein composition of pFF from pigs fed a control diet with pFF of pigs fed a high fibre diet, to identify whether a high fibre diet fed to pigs during their oestrous cycle altered the composition of pFF. Additionally, the pFF of fertile animals was compared with the pFF of non-fertile animals to identify whether pFF composition was associated with fertility; fertile animals produced an embryo following in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Differences in the molecular composition were to be used to ascertain the potential underlying mechanism(s) involved in dietary induced improvements to oocyte maturation. Results The protein composition of pooled pFF from 12 HF-pigs and 12 C-pigs was compared by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Additionally, within each dietary group, the composition of pooled pFF from pigs whose oocytes produced blastocysts following in vitro fertilisation (C-Bl and HF-Bl) was compared with pFF from pigs whose oocytes did not produce blastocysts (C-No and HF-No respectively; n=6 per group). These proteomic analyses identified differentially expressed proteins, associated with several canonical pathways including acute phase response signalling, complement system and LXR/RXR activation, as determined by Ingenuity Pathway Analysis. Quantitative western blots revealed the differential expression of candidates associated with these canonical pathways. Plasminogen expression was lower (P≤0.05) in pFF of HF-pigs compared to pFF of C-pigs. In pFF from C-Bl gilts, apolipoprotein A4 (P≤0.01) and apolipoprotein M (P≤0.05) expression were higher compared to pFF from C-No gilts. Plasmin expression was lower (P≤0.05) in pFF from HF-Bl gilts compared to pFF from C-Bl gilts. Due to the interest in the differentially expressed apolipoproteins (involved in cholesterol and lipid efflux), a targeted metabolomic analysis was carried out to measure the concentration of nine fatty acids (FAs) in pFF of individual pigs in C-No, C-Bl, HF-No, HF-Bl groups (n=6 per group); adrenic, arachadonic, arachidic, dihomo- γ-linolenic, docosapentaenoic, erucic, linoleic, palmitoleic and oleic acids were measured by LC-MS/MS. The analysis revealed the lower concentration of linoleic acid (LA, p≤0.05) and higher concentration of erucic acid (P≤0.05) in HF-pFF compared to C-pFF. Following the results of the targeted metabolomic analysis, cumulus-oocytecomplexes (COCs) were matured in TCM 199 medium supplemented with 0 (No-LA), 50, 100 or 200 μM LA for 44 hours (n = 320 per treatment). COC diameters were measured and the COCs were categorised into "full", "partial" or "no" expansion. COCs were denuded, fixed and stained to determine their stage of maturation. IVM with 200 μM LA resulted in the reduced diameter of COCs (p≤0.01), fewer COCs with full cumulus expansion (p≤0.05) and fewer metaphase II oocytes (p≤0.05). Discussion Plasminogen is the precursor to plasmin, a proteolytic enzyme involved in weakening the follicular wall prior to ovulation. The lower expression of plasminogen and plasmin in pFF of high fibre pigs implies a delay in the accumulation of the inflammatory proteins required for ovulation. The delay in ovulation can result in the lengthening of the oocyte maturation process, leading to more mature oocytes, as observed in the previous studies. A disruption in the expression of apolipoproteins may also occur in high fibre-fed pigs. The increase in apolipoproteins associated with blastocyst development was only observed with pFF of control pigs but not high fibre pigs. An alteration in lipid homeostasis in the high fibre pigs could potentially affect oocyte energy consumption. LA concentration was also lower in pFF of high fibre pigs. LA is an essential fatty acid, indicating that the difference in concentration is directly from the diet. The lower levels of LA can potentially be beneficial to oocyte maturation, which is substantiated by the negative effects of a high LA concentration on IVM of abattoir derived oocytes.
Supervisor: Ashworth, Cheryl ; Gill, Andrew ; McEvoy, Tom Sponsor: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: ovarian follicular fluid ; control-fed pigs ; high fibre-fed pigs ; plasminogen ; plasmin ; apolipoprotein A4 ; apolipoprotein M ; fat regulation ; linoleic acid