The objective of this study was to determine the effects of undefined and semidefined culture systems for in vitro embryo production on angiogenesis and morphometry of bovine placentas during early gestation. Blastocysts produced in vivo were recovered from superovulated Holstein cows and served as controls. Blastocysts produced in vitro were exposed to either serum-supplemented medium with cumulus cell coculture (in vitro-produced with serum; IVPS) or modified synthetic oviductal fluid medium without serum or coculture (mSOF). Single blastocysts from each production system were transferred into heifers. Fetuses and placentas were recovered on Day 70 of gestation. Cotyledonary tissues were obtained for quantification of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARG) mRNA and protein. Samples of placentomes were prepared for immunocytochemistry and histological analysis. Placentas from the mSOF group were heavier and had the fewest placentomes, least placental fluid, and lowest placental efficiency (fetal weight/placental weight) compared with the in vivo and IVPS groups. There was no effect of embryo culture system on volume densities of fetal villi or maternal endometrium within placentomes. The volume density of fetal pyknotic cells was increased in placentomes in the mSOF group compared with the in vivo and IVPS groups. Placentomes in the mSOF group had decreased densities of blood vessels and decreased levels of VEGF mRNA in cotyledonary tissue. In conclusion, compared with placentas from embryos produced in vivo or in vitro using an undefined culture system, placentas from embryos produced in vitro using a semidefined culture system exhibited a greater degree of aberrant development of the placenta during early gestation.
in vitro fertilization