Protein content of porcine embryos during the first nine days of development

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Little is known about the physiochemical aspects of porcine embryos prior to implantation. The purpose of this study was to quantitate the total protein content of porcine embryos from fertilization through day 9 of development. Thirty-seven gilts and two sows were hand mated and the reproductive tracts collected at slaughter 1 to 9 days after the onset of estrus. The uteri were flushed with phosphate buffered saline (PBS), and embryos were collected, washed with PBS and transferred directly to test tubes containing distilled water. Only embryos which appeared morphologically normal were used. Protein content was determined by the Bio-Rad microassay. Standard curves were constructed for each assay using. 8 to 19 μg gamma globulin (Bio-Rad assay). Protein standards were run in triplicate. Regression lines were calculated for protein standards, and the resulting line was used to determine total protein in the unknown samples. Protein content of unfertilized eggs and embryos increased steadily through days 3, 4 and 5 of development, from 273 to 334, 491 and 620 ng, respectively. This result suggests that the protein content of porcine embryos increases only slightly from fertilization through day 5 of development. A dramatic increase in embryo protein content was observed between days 6 and 9 of development, which is the time of blastocyst formation and hatching of the embryo from the zona pellucida. © 1981.

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