Dietary sugar in healthy female primates perturbs oocyte maturation and in vitro preimplantation embryo development.

PMID 24731100


The consumption of refined sugars continues to pose a significant health risk. However, nearly nothing is known about the effects of sugar intake by healthy women on the oocyte or embryo. Using rhesus monkeys, we show that low-dose sucrose intake over a 6-month period has an impact on the oocyte with subsequent effects on the early embryo. The ability of oocytes to resume meiosis was significantly impaired, although the differentiation of the somatic component of the ovarian follicle into progesterone-producing cells was not altered. Although the small subset of oocytes that did mature were able to be fertilized in vitro and develop into preimplantation blastocysts, there were >1100 changes in blastocyst gene expression. Because sucrose treatment ended before fertilization, the effects of sugar intake by healthy primates are concluded to be epigenetic modifications to the immature oocyte that are manifest in the preimplantation embryo.