Journal of reproduction and fertility
The sensitive mRNA phenotyping technique of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction was used to demonstrate that insulin receptor mRNA is present in rat embryos during the preimplantation period. In addition, mRNA encoding insulin-like growth factor (IGF) type I and type II receptors have also been detected in rat preimplantation embryos. IGF-I mRNA was not detected in preimplantation embryos but was found in oviducts and uteri of prepubertal and early pregnant rats. IGF-II mRNA was present in both embryos and in oviducts and uteri during the preimplantation period. These findings suggest that insulin and IGF-I could influence early embryo development in endocrine or in paracrine fashions, whereas IGF-II may have an additional autocrine mode of action in affecting preimplantation embryos in rats.