Mycotoxin alpha-zearalenol impairs the quality of preimplantation porcine embryos

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Journal of Reproduction and Development


Alpha-Zearalenol (α-ZEA) is one of derivatives from Zearalenone (ZEA) which impacts mammalian reproduction and development. Previous studies have shown that pigs are sensitive to the estradiol-like effects of α-ZEA. However, the effect of α-ZEA for the early embryonic development has not been fully studied. The objective of this study was to identify the direct toxicity of α-ZEA on porcine preimplantation embryonic development, embryo quality and expression of developmentally important genes. Presumptive zygotes were cultured in porcine zygote medium 3 (PZM-3) in the presence of α-ZEA (n=2,957) or 17β-estradiol (E2) (n=1,333) dissolved in 0.1% Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) from 24 to 84 h post insemination followed by determination of apoptotic cell numbers and transcript levels of BAX, BCL2L1 and POU5F1 in blastocysts. Cleavage rates on day 2 were significantly decreased in 10, 30 and 60 μM α-ZEA groups; whereas blastocyst rates on day 6 were significantly decreased in the 30 and 60 μM of α-ZEA groups. Only the 100 μM E2 group significantly decreased cleavage and blastocyst rates. Total cell numbers (TCN) in blastocysts were significantly lower in the 10 μM α-ZEA group, but no differences in apoptotic cell rates were found. The expression levels of POU5F1 and BCL2L1 transcripts were similar; however, levels of BAX transcripts and the BAX/BCL2L1 ratio were increased in both α-ZEA groups. Since α-ZEA and E2 did not elicit similar effects, results suggest that α-ZEA might impact porcine preimplantation embryonic development through pathways other than estrogen receptor binding. © 2012 by the Society for Reproduction and Development.

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