Basic & clinical pharmacology & toxicology

Epigallocatechin gallate promotes the development of mouse 2-cell embryos in vitro by regulating mitochondrial activity and expression of genes related to p53 signalling pathway.

PMID 24751160


Preliminary studies have found that the epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) at proper concentration could promote development of pre-implantation mouse embryos in vitro. However, the underlying mechanisms have not been well understood. In this study, we collected 1-cell embryos from Kunming (KM) mice, cultured them in M16 medium or M16 medium supplemented with 10 μg/mL EGCG and investigated the effects of EGCG on mitochondrial activity and reactive oxygen species (ROS) level of 2-cell embryos. Furthermore, we explored expression differences of genes related to p53 signalling pathway in 2-cell embryos using a PCR array. The results showed that ROS level and mitochondrial membrane potential were significantly lower in embryos cultured in the EGCG group than in the M16 group (p < 0.05), while the adenosine triphosphate content was slightly lower than in the M16 group (p > 0.05). PCR array test results showed that 18 genes were differentially expressed, among which eight genes involving cell growth, cell cycle regulation and mRNA transcription were up-regulated and 10 genes involving apoptosis, cell cycle arrest and DNA repair were down-regulated in the EGCG groups. It is concluded that EGCG could promote the development of 1-cell embryos in vitro possibly due to its ability to scavenge ROS and regulate mitochondrial activity. In addition, EGCG could influence expression of genes related to p53 signalling pathway in 2-cell embryos and promote cell cycle progression.