Pregnancy rates, prenatal and postnatal survival of offspring, and litter sizes after reciprocal embryo transfer in DBA/2JHd, C3H/HeNCrl and NMRI mice

Theriogenology. 2012 Jun;77(9):1883-93. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2012.01.005. Epub 2012 Mar 7.


Success of embryo transfer is often a limiting factor in transgenic procedures and rederivation efforts, and depends on the genetic background of the donor and recipient strains used. Here we show that embryo transfer to DBA/2J females is possible, and present data on pre- and postnatal success rates after reciprocal embryo transfer using the inbred DBA/2J and C3H/HeN, and outbred NMRI strains. The highest embryo yield was achieved in outbred NMRI females, but embryo yields were similar in DBA/2J and C3H/HeN mice following superovulation despite poor estrus cycle synchronization in DBA/2J females. In-strain transfer of DBA/2J blastocysts (transfer of embryos to recipients from the same strain) resulted in pregnancy rates (57.1%) similar to those obtained following in-strain transfer of C3H/HeN (60.0%) and NMRI mice (83.3%), although the prenatal survival rate of blastocysts was low. Moreover, from the pups born only half survived the postnatal period after transfer of DBA/2J and C3H/HeN blastocysts to DBA/2J recipients. These problems were not observed when transferring NMRI-blastocysts to C3H/HeN and DBA/2J mothers. The number of blastocysts transferred also had a positive effect on the success of embryo transfer. In conclusion, C3H/HeN and DBA/2J females can be used as recipients for embryo transfer procedures for certain donor strains like NMRI, as one major determinant seems to be the genetic background of the embryos transferred. We also recommend to increase the number of DBA/2J blastocysts transferred, and to foster the DBA/2J pups to other DBA/2J mothers postnatally for in-strain transfer of DBA/2J mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Blastocyst
  • Embryo Transfer*
  • Female
  • Litter Size / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Pregnancy