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A human-based assisted reproduction protocol for the menstruating spiny mouse, Acomys cahirinus.

PloS one (2020-12-29)
Jarrod McKenna, Nadia Bellofiore, Sally Catt, Mulyoto Pangestu, Peter Temple-Smith
ABSTRACT

The Egyptian or Common spiny mouse (A. cahirinus) is the first rodent species to show human-like menstruation and spontaneous decidualisation. We consider from these, and its other, human-like characteristics that this species will be a more useful and appropriate small animal model for human reproductive studies. Based on this, there is a need to develop specific laboratory-based assisted reproduction protocols including superovulation, in-vitro fertilisation, embryo cryopreservation and transfer to expand and make this model more relevant. Because standard rodent superovulation has not been successful in the spiny mouse, we have selected to test a human protocol. Female spiny mice will receive a subcutaneous GnRH agonist implant and be allowed to recover. Menstrual cycle lengths will then be allowed to stabilize prior to ovarian stimulation. After recovery, females will be injected IP once a day for 4 days with a FSH analogue, to induce follicular growth, and on day 5 will be injected IP with a hCG analogue to trigger ovulation. Females will either be culled 36hrs after trigger to collect oocytes or immediately paired with a stud male and two cell embryos collected 48hrs later. Mature oocytes will be inseminated using fresh spiny mouse spermatozoa and all in-vitro grown and in-vivo collected two cell embryos will be cryopreserved using methods developed in a close spiny mouse relative, the Mongolian gerbil. For embryo transfer, vitrified embryos will be rapidly warmed and non-surgically transferred to surrogate mice. Surrogates will be monitored until pregnancy is apparent (roughly 30 days) and then left undisturbed until birth, 38-40 days after transfer. By successfully developing robust assisted reproduction protocols in A. cahirinus we will be able to use this rodent as a more effective model for human reproduction.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
M16 Medium, With sodium bicarbonate and lactic acid, without penicillin and streptomycin, liquid, sterile-filtered
Sigma-Aldrich
M2 medium, With HEPES, without penicillin and streptomycin, liquid, sterile-filtered, suitable for mouse embryo cell culture