Ovarian stimulation is a routine procedure in assisted reproduction to stimulate the growth of multiple follicles in naturally single-ovulating species including cattle and humans. The aim of this study was to analyze the changes induced in the endometrial transcriptome associated with superovulation in cattle and place these observations in the context of our previous data on changes in the endometrial transcriptome associated with elevated progesterone (P4) concentrations within the physiological range and those changes induced in the embryo due to superovulation. Mean serum P4 concentrations were significantly higher from day 4 to day 7 in superovulated compared with unstimulated control heifers (P < 0.05). Between-group analysis revealed a clear separation in the overall transcriptional profile of endometria from unstimulated control heifers (n = 5) compared with superovulated heifers (n = 5). This was reflected in the number of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) identified between the two groups with 795 up- and 440 downregulated in superovulated endometria. Ten times more genes were altered by superovulation (n = 1,234) compared with the number altered due to elevated P4 within physiological ranges by insertion of a P4-releasing intravaginal device (n = 124) with only 22 DEGs common to both models of P4 manipulation. Fewer genes were affected by superovulation in the embryo compared with the endometrium, (443 vs. 1,234 DEGs, respectively), and the manner in which genes were altered was different with 64.5% of genes up- and 35.5% of genes downregulated in the endometrium, compared with the 98.9% of DEGs upregulated in the embryo. In conclusion, superovulation induces significant changes in the transcriptome of the endometrium which are distinct from those in the embryo.
University College Dublin ->