The influence of N-acetyl-l-cysteine on damage of porcine oocyte exposed to zearalenone in vitro

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Zearalenone (ZEA), one of the mycotoxins produced by Fusarium fungi, impacts porcine reproduction by interfering with the estrogen signaling pathway. Previous studies have shown that ZEA inhibits porcine oocyte maturation through the formation of aberrant spindle. To explore the effect of ZEA on porcine oocyte meiotic maturation, the extent of both nuclear and cytoplasmic maturation was examined in this study. Compared with control group, presence of ZEA (3 μM) during oocyte maturation, significantly inhibited the polar body extrusions from 71% to 51%, and significantly increased intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) level (12.01 vs. 5.89). Intracellular glutathione (GSH) content in ZEA treatment group was lower than in the control group (1.08 pmol/oocyte vs. 0.18 pmol/oocyte), and cortical granules of cortical area distributed oocytes were reduced (88% vs. 62%). ZEA decreases cumulus expansion in both morphology and mRNA level (HAS2, PTX3, TNFAIP6 and CX43). Addition of N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC) to the oocyte maturation media reversed the ZEA-induced inhibition of polar body extrusion (from 69% to 81%), up-regulated ROS (from 7.9 to 6.5), down-regulated GSH content (from 0.16 to 0.82 pmol/oocyte) and recovered cumulus cells expansion in morphology and mRNA level. It is concluded that ZEA affects both oocyte nucleus and cytoplasmic maturation during in vitro maturation, and NAC can reverse these damages to some extent.

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