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Kölle, Sabine; Reese, Sven ORCID: 0000-0002-4605-9791; Kummer, Wolfgang (2010): New aspects of gamete transport, fertilization, and embryonic development in the oviduct gained by means of live cell imaging. In: Theriogenology, Vol. 73, No. 6, SI: pp. 786-795
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Abstract

The integrity of gamete transport, fertilization, and early embryonic development in the oviduct are essential prerequisites for successful reproduction. Although the basic mechanisms of gamete transport, gamete interaction, and early embryogenesis are known in most mammals, the interactions between gametes and oviductal epithelium as well as the communication between the early embryo and the female reproductive tract remain to be elucidated. Recent techniques of live cell imaging such as digital videomicroscopy and confocal fluorescence microscopy are valuable tools that provide actual new insights into these interactions. By applying these techniques, the mechanisms of sperm transport, sperm storage, oocyte transport, gamete interaction, and early embryo-maternal crosstalk can be analyzed under in vivo or in situ conditions. Detailed knowledge of these very early and important processes creates the basis to develop new therapeutic concepts for subfertility and infertility and to improve the techniques of assisted reproduction. The current review will focus on a short description of recent techniques of live cell imaging in the reproductive tract followed by an overview of actual observations during the early events of reproduction.