Exposure of pig oocytes to PCBs during in vitro maturation: effects on developmental competence, cytoplasmic remodelling and communications with cumulus cells
AbstractPolychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are one of the most persistent and widespread groups of endocrine disrupting compounds in the ecosystem. These substances are present in sewage sludge that is spread in increasing amounts on arable land and pasture as fertilizer, and are ingested by farm animals with food and drinking water. This study investigated the effect of different PCB concentrations on pig oocyte in vitro maturation and developmental competence as well as examined the possible mechanisms involved. A concentration ranging from 0 to 1 ?g/mL of Aroclor 1254 (A1254), a pool of more than 60 PCB congeners, was added to the maturation medium, as its composition is considered environmentally relevant. A1254 had no effect on maturation of pig oocytes and on the number of oocytes that cleaved following parthenogenetic activation at any of the doses tested. By contrast, a significant decrease in the number of zygotes that developed to blastocyst stage became evident at a concentration of 10 ng/mL. The number of blastocysts obtained decreased significantly, and in a dose response manner with higher concentrations. Exposure to PCBs altered mitochondria relocation during maturation and this was associated with the lack of a cytoplasmic microtubule network. No effect on mitochondria activity was observed. A1254 exposure also perturbed gap-junction mediated communications between oocytes and cumulus cells. In conclusion, PCB exposure of pig oocytes during in vitro maturation significantly decreased oocyte developmental competence, altered both their cytoplasmic remodelling and the communication with the somatic compartment. These data indicated that accumulation of PCBs in the pig organism may have a detrimental effect on the reproductive efficiency in this species.
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Copyright (c) 2009 TAL Brevini, R Vassena, A Paffoni, C Francisci, U Fascio, U Gandolfi
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