Publications by authors named "Hilde Aardema"

9 Publications

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Pressure measurement in the reticulum to detect different behaviors of healthy cows.

PLoS One 2021 22;16(7):e0254410. Epub 2021 Jul 22.

Department of Population Health Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

The aim of the current study was to investigate the relation between reticulorumen contractions and monitored cow behaviors. A purpose-built pressure measuring device was used and shown to be capable of detecting the known contraction patterns in the reticulorumen of four rumen-fistulated cows. Reticular pressure data was used to build a random forest algorithm, a learning algorithm based on a combination of decision trees, to detect rumination and other cow behaviors. In addition, we developed a peak-detection algorithm for rumination based on visual inspection of patterns in reticular pressure. Cow behaviors, differentiated in ruminating, eating, drinking, sleeping and 'other', as scored from video observation, were used to develop and test the algorithms. The results demonstrated that rumination of a cow can be detected by measuring pressure differences in the reticulum using either the random forest algorithm or the peak-detection algorithm. The random forest algorithm showed very robust performances for detecting rumination with an accuracy of 0.98, a sensitivity of 0.95 and a specificity of 0.99. The peak-detection algorithm could detect rumination robustly, with an accuracy of 0.92, a sensitivity of 0.97 and a specificity of 0.90. In addition, we provide proof of principle that a random forest algorithm can also detect eating, drinking and sleeping behavior from the same data with performances above 0.90 for all measures. The measurement device used in this study needed rumen-fistulated cows, but the results indicate that behavior detection using algorithms based on only measurements in the reticulum is feasible. This is promising as it may allow future wireless sensor techniques in the reticulum to continuously monitor a range of important behaviors of cows.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0254410PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8297788PMC
November 2021

Optical interferometry based micropipette aspiration provides real-time sub-nanometer spatial resolution.

Commun Biol 2021 05 21;4(1):610. Epub 2021 May 21.

LaserLab, Department of Physics and Astronomy, VU University, De Boelelaan 1081, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Micropipette aspiration (MPA) is an essential tool in mechanobiology; however, its potential is far from fully exploited. The traditional MPA technique has limited temporal and spatial resolution and requires extensive post processing to obtain the mechanical fingerprints of samples. Here, we develop a MPA system that measures pressure and displacement in real time with sub-nanometer resolution thanks to an interferometric readout. This highly sensitive MPA system enables studying the nanoscale behavior of soft biomaterials under tension and their frequency-dependent viscoelastic response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02121-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8140111PMC
May 2021

An overview on how cumulus cells interact with the oocyte in a condition with elevated NEFA levels in dairy cows.

Anim Reprod Sci 2019 Aug 4;207:131-137. Epub 2019 Jun 4.

Department of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 7, 3584 CL Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Metabolic stress in humans and animals is associated with impaired fertility. A major characteristic of metabolic stress is elevated levels of free fatty acids (NEFAs) in blood due to mobilization of body fat reserves. Dairy cows undergo a period of metabolic stress during the peri-calving period, the so-called negative energy balance (NEB) in the early weeks postpartum. At the time of NEB, both saturated and unsaturated NEFAs are mobilized to serve as an alternative energy supply for cells, however in particular saturated NEFAs can have a detrimental effect on somatic cells. Circulating NEFAs are also reflected in the follicular fluid of ovarian follicles and hence reach the cumulus-oocyte-complex (COC), which implies a potential risk for the developing oocyte. To this end, the current review focusses on the impact of NEFAs on the quality of the oocyte.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anireprosci.2019.06.003DOI Listing
August 2019

Stearoyl-CoA desaturase activity in bovine cumulus cells protects the oocyte against saturated fatty acid stress.

Biol Reprod 2017 May;96(5):982-992

Department of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Metabolic rich and poor conditions are both characterized by elevated free fatty acid levels and have been associated with impaired female fertility. In particular, saturated free fatty acids have a dose-dependent negative impact on oocyte developmental competence, while monounsaturated free fatty acids appear less harmful. Cumulus cells seem to protect the oocyte against free fatty acids, and the aim of this study was to determine the mechanism behind this protection In particular, the role of the enzyme stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) that converts saturated into monounsaturated fatty acids was investigated. SCD gene and protein were abundantly expressed in cumulus cells, but expression was low in oocytes. The level of SCD protein expression in cumulus cells did not change when COCs were exposed to saturated stearic acid during maturation. SCD inhibition in the presence of stearic acid significantly reduced the developmental competence of oocytes and increased the incidence of apoptosis in cumulus cells. The esterified oleic/stearic acid ratio of the neutral lipid fraction in cumulus cells decreased in the presence of SCD inhibitors when COCs were exposed to saturated free fatty acids during maturation, indicating the SCD-specific conversion of saturated fatty acids under noninhibiting conditions. The observation that cumulus cells can desaturate the potentially toxic stearic acid into oleic acid via SCD activity provides a mechanistic insight into how the cumulus cells protect the oocyte against toxicity by saturated fatty acid.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1095/biolreprod.116.146159DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5803780PMC
May 2017

Free fatty acid levels in fluid of dominant follicles at the preferred insemination time in dairy cows are not affected by early postpartum fatty acid stress.

J Dairy Sci 2015 Apr 31;98(4):2322-36. Epub 2015 Jan 31.

Department of Farm Animal Health, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 7, 3584 CL Utrecht, the Netherlands.

The fertility of high-yielding dairy cows has declined during the last 3 decades, in association with a more profound negative energy balance (NEB) during the early weeks postpartum. One feature of this NEB is a marked elevation in circulating free fatty acid (FFA) concentrations. During the early postpartum period (≤ d 42), circulatory FFA levels were measured weekly, and progesterone concentrations and the diameter of the dominant follicles were determined thrice weekly. Retrospectively, cows that ovulated within 35 d postpartum were grouped as "normal ovulating" cows (n = 5), and the others were grouped as "delayed ovulating" cows (n = 5). In both groups, high total FFA levels (>500 µM) were evident immediately postpartum. Interestingly, cows with delayed ovulation had higher plasma FFA concentrations in the first weeks postpartum compared with normal ovulating cows. In both cow groups, FFA decreased to control levels of non-NEB cows within 3 wk postpartum. The FFA compositions and concentrations in fluids from the dominant follicles of postpartum cows were not different between the normal and delayed ovulating cows when measured at potential insemination points: d 55, 80, and 105 postpartum. Interestingly, the concentration of monounsaturated oleic acid was higher and that of saturated stearic acid lower in follicular fluids of both groups compared with that in blood. The level of FFA in follicular fluid was correlated with the ratio of 17β-estradiol (E2) to progesterone (P4) in follicular fluid, with a relatively high level of unsaturated FFA in follicles with a low E2:P4 ratio. Taken together, these results indicate that a more severe NEB early postpartum is related to a delay in the first postpartum ovulation and does not affect FFA composition in follicular fluid at the preferred insemination time. The high FFA level in dominant follicles with a low E2:P4 ratio may be due to a different FFA metabolism in these follicles. The diagnostic value of this observation for selective screening of dominant follicles needs further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3168/jds.2014-7970DOI Listing
April 2015

The cumulus cell layer protects the bovine maturing oocyte against fatty acid-induced lipotoxicity.

Biol Reprod 2015 Jan 8;92(1):16. Epub 2014 Oct 8.

Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands Department of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands,

Mobilization of fatty acids from adipose tissue during metabolic stress increases the amount of free fatty acids in blood and follicular fluid and is associated with impaired female fertility. In a previous report, we described the effects of the three predominant fatty acids in follicular fluid (saturated palmitate and stearate and unsaturated oleate) on oocyte maturation and quality. In the current study, the effects of elevated fatty acid levels on cumulus cells were investigated. In a dose-dependent manner, the three fatty acids induced lipid storage in cumulus cells accompanied by an enhanced immune labeling of perilipin-2, a marker for lipid droplets. Lipidomic analysis confirmed incorporation of the administered fatty acids into triglyceride, resulting in a 3- to 6-fold increase of triglyceride content. In addition, palmitate selectively induced ceramide formation, which has been implicated in apoptosis. Indeed, of the three fatty acids tested, palmitate induced reactive oxygen species formation, caspase 3 activation, and mitochondria deterioration, leading to degeneration of the cumulus cell layers. This effect could be mimicked by addition of the ceramide-C2 analog and could be inhibited by the ceramide synthase inhibitor fumonisin-B1. Interfering with the intactness of the cumulus cell layers, either by mechanical force or by palmitate treatment, resulted in enhanced uptake of lipids in the oocyte and increased radical formation. Our results show that cumulus cells act as a barrier, protecting oocytes from in vitro induced lipotoxic effects. We suggest that this protective function of the cumulus cell layers is important for the developmental competence of the oocyte. The relevance of our findings for assisted reproduction technologies is discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1095/biolreprod.114.120634DOI Listing
January 2015

Follicular 17β-estradiol and progesterone concentrations and degree of cumulus cell expansion as predictors of in vivo-matured oocyte developmental competence in superstimulated heifers.

Theriogenology 2013 Oct 4;80(6):576-83. Epub 2013 Jul 4.

Department of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

The quality of an oocyte is crucial for successful generation of offspring, but few selection parameters have been identified that reliably predict oocyte developmental competence. The objective of the present study was to determine whether the developmental competence of in vivo-matured oocytes derived from superstimulated heifers could be predicted by 17β-estradiol and progesterone concentrations in follicular fluid, degree of cumulus cell expansion, and follicular diameter. Cumulus oocyte complexes were individually collected from follicles ≥8 mm 22 hours after an induced LH peak and individually fertilized and cultured in vitro. Only oocytes that originated from follicles with 17β-estradiol ≤0.25 μM and progesterone ≥0.26 μM developed into blastocysts. When a combination of these cutoff values was evaluated as a predictor of oocyte competence, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value were 100%, 75%, 49%, and 100%, respectively. Hormone concentrations in follicular fluid were also associated with the degree of cumulus cell expansion and only cumulus oocyte complexes with full expansion developed into blastocysts; sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value were 100%, 71%, 45%, and 100%, respectively, when full expansion was used as the predictive criterion for blastocyst production. Follicular diameter was not a good predictor of oocyte competence. In conclusion, concentrations of 17β-estradiol and progesterone in the preovulatory follicle and the degree of cumulus cell expansion are predictors of blastocyst production in superstimulated heifers and can be used as selection markers for oocyte developmental competency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.theriogenology.2013.05.025DOI Listing
October 2013

Bovine cumulus cells protect maturing oocytes from increased fatty acid levels by massive intracellular lipid storage.

Biol Reprod 2013 Jun 27;88(6):164. Epub 2013 Jun 27.

Department of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Metabolic conditions characterized by elevated free fatty acid concentrations in blood and follicular fluid are often associated with impaired female fertility. Especially elevated saturated fatty acid levels can be lipotoxic for several somatic cell types. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of elevated free fatty acid concentrations in follicular fluid on neutral lipids (fatty acids stored in lipid droplets) inside cumulus cells and oocytes and their developmental competence. To this end, cows were exposed to a short-term fasting period during final oocyte maturation. This resulted in elevated, but distinct, free fatty acid concentrations in blood and follicular fluid and a rise in the concentrations of in particular fatty acids with a chain length of 14-18 carbon atoms. Interestingly, elevated free fatty acid concentrations in follicular fluid resulted in a massive increase in the level of neutral lipids in cumulus cells, whereas the level of neutral lipid in oocytes was hardly affected. Furthermore, competence of oocytes to develop to the blastocyst stage after fertilization and culture of cumulus-oocyte-complexes of the experimental and control group was not different. In conclusion these data suggest that short-term elevated free fatty acid concentrations in follicular fluid do not harm oocyte developmental competence. We propose that the involvement of high levels of mobilized oleic acid in follicular fluid in combination with the induced lipid storage in cumulus cells serves to prevent harmful saturated fatty acid exposure to the oocyte.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1095/biolreprod.112.106062DOI Listing
June 2013

Oleic acid prevents detrimental effects of saturated fatty acids on bovine oocyte developmental competence.

Biol Reprod 2011 Jul 10;85(1):62-9. Epub 2011 Feb 10.

Department of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Mobilization of fatty acids from adipose tissue during metabolic stress will increase the amount of free fatty acids in blood and follicular fluid and, thus, may affect oocyte quality. In this in vitro study, the three predominant fatty acids in follicular fluid (saturated palmitic and stearic acid and unsaturated oleic acid) were presented to maturing oocytes to test whether fatty acids can affect lipid storage of the oocyte and developmental competence postfertilization. Palmitic and stearic acid had a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on the amount of fat stored in lipid droplets and a concomitant detrimental effect on oocyte developmental competence. Oleic acid, in contrast, had the opposite effect, causing an increase of lipid storage in lipid droplets and an improvement of oocyte developmental competence. Remarkably, the adverse effects of palmitic and stearic acid could be counteracted by oleic acid. These results suggest that the ratio and amount of saturated and unsaturated fatty acid is relevant for lipid storage in the maturing oocyte and that this relates to the developmental competence of maturing oocytes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1095/biolreprod.110.088815DOI Listing
July 2011
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