Cell division ceases in mouse blastocysts during the extended dormant period associated with delayed implantation but resumes following activation of the embryos by administration of 17β‐estradiol to the mother. To determine the temporal and spatial aspects of the resumption of DNA synthesis during activation, blastocysts were recovered from delayed implanting females at various intervals after an injection of 17β‐estradiol, incubated with 3H‐thymidine in vitro, and prepared for light microscopic autoradiography. Although less than 4% of the cells were labeled in delayed implanting embryos, the proportion of labeled cells increased soon after the administration of 17β‐estradiol and reached a maximum of over 50% by 24 hours. This increase in labeling was not uniform in all regions of the embryo, i.e., the labeling index of the inner cell mass began a steady increase immediately after the injection of 17β‐estradiol while labeling of the polar and proximal mural trophoblast remained depressed for 6 and 12 hours, respectively, and only then began to increase. No labeling was present over the distal mural trophoblast in delayed implanting or activated blastocysts although cytological changes characteristic of primary giant cell transformation were present in activated embryos. These results indicate that the resumption of DNA synthesis is part of the overall increase in metabolic activity associated with activation. Furthermore, the sequential pattern of resumption of synthesis suggests that the ICM may influence the initiation of DNA synthesis in the surrounding trophoblast.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology