Animal Reproduction (AR)
Animal Reproduction (AR)

Colony aging affects the reproductive performance of Swiss Webster females used as recipients for embryo transfer

Geraldine Schlapp; Maria Noel Meikle; Cecilia Silva; Gabriel Fernandez-Graña; Alejo Menchaca; Martina Crispo

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Abstract: The objective was to evaluate the influence of colony aging in a Swiss Webster (SW) outbred stock used as recipients for embryo transfer. In the first study, a retrospective analysis was performed throughout several generations during a 38-month period in 2,398 embryos transferred to 108 SW recipients. A decrease in the percentage of live pups from transferred embryos was found at the end of the period. Impairment occurred due to the incidence of maternal cannibalism that increased from 0% to 67-100% (P<0.05), while pregnancy rate (pregnant/transferred recipients) and number of pups per delivered female were not affected throughout the period (P=NS). A following study was carried out to compare the reproductive performance of SW stock vs. B6D2F1 hybrid females in a 5-year interval. The study was conducted on a total of 893 embryos transferred to 40 females (20 SW and 20 B6D2F1) in Year #1, and 514 embryos transferred to 30 females (15 SW and 15 B6D2F1) in Year #5. No cases of maternal cannibalism were found on Year #1 in any of the strains (0/10 and 0/10). However, an incidence of 44,4% (4/9) was seen on Year #5 for SW, while for B6D2F1 the incidence was 0% (0/12) (P<0.05). Further examination of the uterus showed endometrial cysts and abnormal implantation sites in SW on Year #5 but not in B6D2F1 females. In conclusion, this study reports an impairment of the reproductive performance of an early aged SW outbred stock colony mainly due to the occurrence of maternal cannibalism. This finding has important implications for embryo transfer programs conducted in mouse facilities.


pre-implantation embryos, pregnancy failure, pseudopregnant females, foster, cannibalism


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