International journal of molecular sciences

Dihydrolipoic acid induces cytotoxicity in mouse blastocysts through apoptosis processes.

PMID 22489194


α-Lipoic acid (LA) is a thiol with antioxidant properties that protects against oxidative stress-induced apoptosis. LA is absorbed from the diet, taken up by cells and tissues, and subsequently reduced to dihydrolipoic acid (DHLA). In view of the recent application of DHLA as a hydrophilic nanomaterial preparation, determination of its biosafety profile is essential. In the current study, we examined the cytotoxic effects of DHLA on mouse embryos at the blastocyst stage, subsequent embryonic attachment and outgrowth in vitro, in vivo implantation by embryo transfer, and early embryonic development in an animal model. Blastocysts treated with 50 μM DHLA exhibited significantly increased apoptosis and a corresponding decrease in total cell number. Notably, the implantation success rates of blastocysts pretreated with DHLA were lower than that of their control counterparts. Moreover, in vitro treatment with 50 μM DHLA was associated with increased resorption of post-implantation embryos and decreased fetal weight. Data obtained using an in vivo mouse model further disclosed that consumption of drinking water containing 100 μM DHLA led to decreased early embryo development, specifically, inhibition of development to the blastocyst stage. However, it appears that concentrations of DHLA lower than 50 μM do not exert a hazardous effect on embryonic development. Our results collectively indicate that in vitro and in vivo exposure to concentrations of DHLA higher than 50 μM DHLA induces apoptosis and retards early pre- and post-implantation development, and support the potential of DHLA to induce embryonic cytotoxicity.

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Lipoic acid, reduced, analytical standard