Melatonin prevents hypochlorous acid-induced alterations in microtubule and chromosomal structure in metaphase-II mouse oocytes

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Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is generated by myeloperoxidase, using chloride and hydrogen peroxide as substrates. Here we demonstrate that HOCl alters metaphase-II mouse oocyte microtubules and chromosomal (CH) alignment which can be prevented by melatonin. Metaphase-II mouse oocytes, obtained commercially, were grouped as: control, melatonin (150, 200 nmol/mL), HOCl (10, 20, 50, and 100 nmol/mL), and HOCl (50 nmol/mL) pretreated with 150 and 200 nmol/mL of melatonin. Microtubule and CH alignment was studied utilizing an indirect immunofluorescence technique and scored by two observers. Pearson chi-square test and Fisher's exact test were used to compare outcomes between controls and treated groups and also among each group. Poor scores for the spindle and chromosomes increased significantly at 50 nmol/mL of HOCl (P < 0.001). Oocytes treated with melatonin only at 150 and 200 nmol/mL showed no changes; significant differences (P < 0.001) were observed when oocytes exposed to 50 nmol/mL of HOCl were compared to oocytes pretreated with 200 nmol/mL melatonin. Fifty percent of the oocytes demonstrated good scores, both in microtubule and CH alterations, when pretreated with melatonin at 150 nmol/mL compared to 0% in the HOCl-only group. HOCl alters the metaphase-II mouse oocyte spindle and CH alignment in a dose-dependant manner, which might be a potential cause of poor oocyte quality (e.g., in patients with endometriosis). Melatonin prevented the HOCl-mediated spindle and CH damage, and therefore, may be an attractive therapeutic option to prevent oocyte damage in endometriosis or inflammatory diseases where HOCl levels are known to be elevated.

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