Human reproduction (Oxford, England), 13(4):998-1002, 1998
Human reproduction (Oxford, England)
In human in-vitro fertilization (IVF)-embryo transfer, the in-vitro culture environment differs from in-vivo conditions in that the oxygen concentration is higher, and in such conditions the mouse embryos show a higher concentration of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in simple culture media. ROS are believed to cause damage to cell membranes and DNA fragmentation in somatic cells. This study was conducted to ascertain the level of H2O2 concentration within embryos and the morphological features of cell damage induced by H2O2. A total of 62 human oocytes and embryos (31 fragmented, 15 non-fragmented embryos, 16 unfertilized oocytes) was obtained from the IVF-embryo transfer programme. The relative intensity of H2O2 concentrations within embryos was measured using 2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate by Quanti cell 500 fluorescence imaging and DNA fragmentation was observed with transmission electron microscopy and an in-situ apoptosis detection kit. The H2O2 concentrations were significantly higher in fragmented embryos (72.21 +/- 9.62, mean +/- SEM) compared to non-fragmented embryos (31.30 +/- 3.50, P < 0.05) and unfertilized oocytes (30.75 +/- 2.67, P < 0.05). Apoptosis was observed only in fragmented embryos, and was absent in non-fragmented embryos. Electron microscopic findings confirmed apoptotic bodies and cytoplasmic condensation in the fragmented blastomeres. We conclude that there is a direct relationship between increased H2O2 concentration and apoptosis, and that further studies should be undertaken to confirm these findings.
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