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Biology of reproduction

Effect of thiol compounds on in vitro development and intracellular glutathione content of bovine embryos.


PMID 8373946

Abstract

The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effect of beta-mercaptoethanol (beta-ME) and cysteamine, low-molecular-weight thiol compounds, on the development and intracellular glutathione content of bovine embryos obtained by in vitro fertilization of in vitro-matured oocytes. Embryos developed to the 6-8-cell stage after in vitro fertilization were cultured without feeder cells in TCM-199 containing 10% fetal calf serum with or without beta-ME or cysteamine. The percentage of embryos that developed to the blastocyst and hatched blastocyst stages were significantly higher in medium containing beta-ME or cysteamine. Also, total intracellular glutathione levels were higher for embryos cultured in the medium with beta-ME or cysteamine than for those cultured in medium without thiol compounds. Moreover, when buthionine sulfoximine, a specific inhibitor of glutathione synthesis, was added to medium containing thiol compounds, there was a reduction both in the development of embryos to the blastocyst stage and in intracellular glutathione content. These results indicate that the inclusion of low-molecular-weight thiol compounds aids the in vitro development of bovine embryos without feeder cells and that the effect of thiol compounds is mediated through the increase of intracellular glutathione levels.

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