Human oviductal cells stimulate embryo development in vitro partly by the production of embryotrophic glycoproteins. The identity of these glycoproteins is not yet known mainly because oviductal samples are limited and that the cultured parental oviductal cells cannot produce sufficient amount of embryotrophic factors for characterization. In this study, human oviductal epithelial cells (OE) were immortalized by HPV 16 E6/E7 open reading frame (ORF) by retroviral expression. The characteristics of this immortalized cell line (OE-E6/E7) were compared to the parental OE. HPV 16 E6/E7 DNA was found only in OE-E6/E7 but not in OE. Human oviduct-specific glycoprotein, estrogen receptors, and cytokeratin were found in both cell types. Both OE and OE-E6/E7 possessed telomerase activities but the former had much lower activity. OE-E6/E7 also produced glycoproteins with chromatographic behavior similar to the embryotrophic glycoproteins derived from OE. These results showed that OE-E6/E7 retained a number of characteristics of OE. The development of preimplantation mouse embryo was significantly better after coculture with OE-E6/E7 when compared to medium alone culture in term of blastulation rates (52% vs. 32%) and blastocyst diameter (113.0 +/- 2.07 microm vs. 83.9 +/- 5.23 microm). This immortalized cell line can be used as a continuous and stable in vitro system for the study of the oviductal embryotrophic activity. Mol. Reprod. Dev. 59: 400-409, 2001.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.