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1.  Repeatability, variability and reference values of pulsed wave Doppler echocardiographic measurements in healthy Saanen goats 
Background
Pulsed wave (PW) Doppler echocardiography has become a routine non invasive cardiac diagnostic tool in most species. However, evaluation of intracardiac blood flow requires reference values, which are poorly documented in goats. The aim of this study was to test the repeatability, the variability, and to establish the reference values of PW measurements in healthy adult Saanen goats. Using a standardised PW Doppler echocardiographic protocol, 10 healthy adult unsedated female Saanen goats were investigated three times at one day intervals by the same observer. Mitral, tricuspid, aortic and pulmonary flows were measured from a right parasternal view, and mitral and aortic flows were also measured from a left parasternal view. The difference between left and right side measurements and the intra-observer inter-day repeatability were tested and then the reference values of PW Doppler echocardiographic parameters in healthy adult female Saanen goats were established.
Results
As documented in other species, all caprine PW Doppler parameters demonstrated a poor inter-day repeatability and a moderate variability. Tricuspid and pulmonary flows were best evaluated on the right side whereas mitral and aortic flows were best obtained on the left side, and reference values are reported for healthy adult Saanen goats.
Conclusions
PW Doppler echocardiography allows the measurement of intracardiac blood flow indices in goats. The reference values establishment will help interpreting these indices of cardiac function in clinical cardiac cases and developing animal models for human cardiology research.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-190
PMCID: PMC3488548  PMID: 23067875
Goat; Pulsed wave; Doppler echocardiography; Reference intervals; Repeatability; Variability
2.  The secretions of oviduct epithelial cells increase the equine in vitro fertilization rate: are osteopontin, atrial natriuretic peptide A and oviductin involved? 
Background
Oviduct epithelial cells (OEC) co-culture promotes in vitro fertilization (IVF) in human, bovine and porcine species, but no data are available from equine species. Yet, despite numerous attempts, equine IVF rates remain low. Our first aim was to verify a beneficial effect of the OEC on equine IVF. In mammals, oviductal proteins have been shown to interact with gametes and play a role in fertilization. Thus, our second aim was to identify the proteins involved in fertilization in the horse.
Methods & results
In the first experiment, we co-incubated fresh equine spermatozoa treated with calcium ionophore and in vitro matured equine oocytes with or without porcine OEC. We showed that the presence of OEC increases the IVF rates. In the subsequent experiments, we co-incubated equine gametes with OEC and we showed that the IVF rates were not significantly different between 1) gametes co-incubated with equine vs porcine OEC, 2) intact cumulus-oocyte complexes vs denuded oocytes, 3) OEC previously stimulated with human Chorionic Gonadotropin, Luteinizing Hormone and/or oestradiol vs non stimulated OEC, 4) in vivo vs in vitro matured oocytes.
In order to identify the proteins responsible for the positive effect of OEC, we first searched for the presence of the genes encoding oviductin, osteopontin and atrial natriuretic peptide A (ANP A) in the equine genome. We showed that the genes coding for osteopontin and ANP A are present. But the one for oviductin either has become a pseudogene during evolution of horse genome or has been not well annotated in horse genome sequence. We then showed that osteopontin and ANP A proteins are present in the equine oviduct using a surface plasmon resonance biosensor, and we analyzed their expression during oestrus cycle by Western blot. Finally, we co-incubated equine gametes with or without purified osteopontin or synthesized ANP A. No significant effect of osteopontin or ANP A was observed, though osteopontin slightly increased the IVF rates.
Conclusion
Our study shows a beneficial effect of homologous and heterologous oviduct cells on equine IVF rates, though the rates remain low. Furthers studies are necessary to identify the proteins involved. We showed that the surface plasmon resonance technique is efficient and powerful to analyze molecular interactions during fertilization.
doi:10.1186/1477-7827-7-129
PMCID: PMC2785818  PMID: 19925651

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