© 2015 Mehaisen et al. Embryo cryopreservation remains an important technique to enhance the reconstitution and distribution of animal populations with high genetic merit. One of the major detrimental factors to this technique is the damage caused by oxidative stress. Melatonin is widely known as an antioxidant with multi-faceted ways to counteract the oxidative stress. In this paper, we investigated the role of melatonin in protecting rabbit embryos during preimplan-tation development from the potential harmful effects of oxidative stress induced by in vitro culture or vitrification. Rabbit embryos at morula stages were cultured for 2 hr with 0 or 10 -3 M melatonin (C or M groups). Embryos of each group were either transferred to fresh culture media (CF and MF groups) or vitrified/devitrified (CV and MV groups), then cultured in vitro for 48 hr until the blastocyst stage. The culture media were used to measure the activity of antioxidant enzymes: glutathione-s-transferase (GST) and superoxide dismutase (SOD), as well as the levels of two oxidative substrates: lipid peroxidation (LPO) and nitric oxide (NO). The blastocysts from each group were used to measure the expression of developmental-related genes (GJA1, POU5F1 and Nanog) and oxidative-stress-response-related genes (NFE2L2, SOD1 and GPX1). The data showed that melatonin promoted significantly (P < 0.05) the blastocyst rate by 17% and 12% in MF and MV groups compared to their controls (CF and CV groups). The GST and SOD activity significantly increased by the treatment of melatonin in fresh or vitrified embryos, while the levels of LPO and NO decreased (P < 0.05). Additionally, melatonin considerably stimulated the relative expression of GJA1, NFE2L2 and SOD1 genes in MF and MV embryos compared to CF group. Furthermore, melatonin significantly ameliorated the reduction of POU5F1 and GPX1 expression induced by vitrification. The results obtained from the current investigation provide new and clear molecular aspects regarding the mechanisms by which melatonin promotes development of both fresh and vitrified rabbit embryos.
Mehaisen, G. M. K., Saeed, A. M., Gad, A., Abass, A. O., Arafa, M., El-Sayed, A., & Fraidenraich, D. (2015). Antioxidant capacity of melatonin on preimplantation development of fresh and vitrified rabbit embryos: Morphological and molecular aspects. PLoS ONE, 10(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0139814