2013 Volume 59 Issue 5 Pages 450-456
One of the factors that impairs in vitro produced porcine embryos is the oxidative stress that is mainly caused by the imbalance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and antioxidants activity, especially that of glutathione (GSH). Here, we examined the effect of 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF), a kind of flavonoid antioxidant, on porcine oocyte maturation and its developmental competence. Porcine oocytes were cultured in media supplemented with 0, 1, 5 and 10 μM 7,8-DHF during both in vitro maturation (IVM) and in vitro culture (IVC) after parthenogenetic activation. Maturation of oocytes was evaluated based on first polar body (PB) extrusion and intracellular GSH level, and developmental competence was assessed through observing cleavage and blastocyst formation. In each step, the levels of intracellular GSH and ROS were assessed by fluorescence intensity, and the apoptosis-related gene expression was examined using semiquantitative RT-PCR. The group treated with 1 μM 7,8-DHF during IVM and IVC showed increased cytoplasmic maturation and reached the blastocysts stage (36.1%) at a higher rate than the other groups (24.7, 16.0 and 10.3% for 0, 5 and 10 μM, P<0.05). In that group, the intracellular GSH level was significantly increased while ROS generation was significantly decreased after IVM and IVC (P<0.05). Moreover, it showed high expression of an anti-apoptotic gene (BCL2L1) and low expression of a pro-apoptotic gene (BAK1) (P<0.05). In conclusion, treatment with 1 μM 7,8-DHF during IVM and IVC showed an anti-apoptotic effect by increasing intracellular GSH synthesis and scavenging ROS and therefore improved the developmental competence of porcine embryos.