GDF8 enhances SOX2 expression and blastocyst total cell number in porcine IVF embryo development

Junchul David Yoon, Seon Ung Hwang, Mirae Kim, Gabsang Lee, Yubyeol Jeon, Sang Hwan Hyun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Growth differentiation factor 8 (GDF8) is a member of the transforming growth factor-β family and a physiological regulator. According to recent studies, GDF8 can be detected in follicular fluid and the uterus, suggesting that GDF8 may affect preimplantation embryonic development and act in a paracrine manner to improve the success of late-blastocyst implantation in vivo. We investigated the effect of GDF8 supplementation during in vitro culture (IVC) of porcine embryos derived from in vitro fertilization (IVF) and parthenogenetic activation (PA) on cleavage, blastocyst formation rate, and total cell number and analysed gene transcription levels and cell linage specification in the resulting blastocysts. First, the concentration of GDF8 in porcine oviductal fluid was determined to be 139.8 pg/mL. Then, 0, 0.2, 2, or 20 ng/mL GDF8 was added to embryos throughout the entire IVC period. Our results showed that supplementation with GDF8 during porcine preimplantation embryo IVC enhanced blastocyst formation and total cell number and altered the transcriptional patterns of genes that regulate pluripotency and cavitation. Furthermore, using differential immunostaining, we demonstrated that supplementation with GDF8 enhanced the expression of the genuine inner cell mass (ICM) marker SOX2 and the ICM/trophectoderm ratio, improving IVF blastocyst quality. In conclusion, for the first time, we demonstrated the presence of the in vivo oviductal factor GDF8 in oviductal fluid. Furthermore, we found that GDF8 supplementation at 0.2 ng/mL increased the blastocyst total cell number and ICM/trophectoderm ratio by inducing the transcription of genes involved in developmental competence and the expression of genuine ICM marker SOX2 during porcine IVF embryo development in vitro.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-76
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Apr 15 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • GDF8
  • In vitro culture
  • Oviductal fluid
  • Porcine
  • SOX2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals
  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Equine


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