Significant Improvement in Cloning Efficiency of an Inbred Miniature Pig by Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor Treatment After Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer

Biol Reprod. 2009 Sep;81(3):525-30. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.109.077016. Epub 2009 Apr 22.


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) miniature pig was developed specifically for xenotransplantation and has been extensively used as a large-animal model in many other biomedical experiments. However, the cloning efficiency of this pig is very low (<0.2%), and this has been an obstacle to the promising application of these inbred swine genetics for biomedical research. It has been demonstrated that increased histone acetylation in somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) embryos, by applying a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor such as trichostatin A (TSA), significantly enhances the developmental competence in several species. However, some researchers also reported that TSA treatment had various detrimental effects on the in vitro and in vivo development of the SCNT embryos. Herein, we report that treatment with 500 nM 6-(1,3-dioxo-1H, 3H-benzo[de]isoquinolin-2-yl)-hexanoic acid hydroxyamide (termed scriptaid), a novel HDAC inhibitor, significantly enhanced the development of SCNT embryos to the blastocyst stage when NIH inbred fetal fibroblast cells (FFCs) were used as donors compared with the untreated group (21% vs. 9%, P < 0.05). Scriptaid treatment resulted in eight pregnancies from 10 embryo transfers (ETs) and 14 healthy NIH miniature pigs from eight litters, while no viable piglets (only three mummies) were obtained from nine ETs in the untreated group. Thus, scriptaid dramatically increased the cloning efficiency when using inbred genetics from 0.0% to 1.3%. In contrast, scriptaid treatment decreased the blastocyst rate in in vitro fertilization embryos (from 37% to 26%, P < 0.05). In conclusion, the extremely low cloning efficiency in the NIH miniature pig may be caused by its inbred genetic background and can be improved by alteration of genomic histone acetylation patterns.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cloning, Organism / methods*
  • Efficiency / physiology
  • Embryo Transfer / methods
  • Embryonic Development / drug effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / methods
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Hydroxylamines / pharmacology
  • Inbreeding
  • Male
  • Nuclear Transfer Techniques*
  • Pregnancy
  • Quinolines / pharmacology
  • Swine
  • Swine, Miniature* / genetics


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Hydroxylamines
  • Quinolines
  • scriptaid