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Benzo(a)pyrene disrupts mouse preimplantation embryo development.

Authors: Shaoquan S. Zhan, Xiya X. Zhang, Shanbo S. Cao, Junjiu J. Huang
Published: 12/13/2014, Fertility and sterility


To determine the effects of Benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) on the development of early preimplantation embryo by exposure to physiologic concentrations of BaP based on a previous report in human ovarian follicular fluid and serum.


Zygotes were cultured in 5 nM or 50 nM BaP and then examined for development efficiency, embryo quality, and DNA damage. In addition, embryonic stem cells (ESCs) were used as a model to test the toxic effects of BaP on inner cell mass (ICM) of blastocysts.




CD1 mice.


Mouse zygotes and ESCs were cultured in medium with 5 nM or 50 nM BaP.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

The percentage (rate) of blastocyst development, reactive oxygen species level, and quality of embryos assessed by total cell number, cell apoptosis, Oct4- and Nanog-positive cell ratio, and DNA damage on genomic and telomeric DNA were compared between dimethyl sulfoxide control and BaP treatments.


The BaP-treated zygotes exhibited significantly higher reactive oxygen species activity, which might lead to more cell apoptosis, low ratio of Nanog- or Oct4-positive ICM cells, and increasing DNA damage in both genomic and telomeric DNA in blastocysts. By using mouse ESCs derived from ICM cells as a model, we showed that pluripotent cells might also show serious DNA damage after a brief exposure to BaP.


Our data show that BaP could seriously disrupt cell growth and genomic DNA stability and increase cell apoptosis in mouse preimplantation embryo development.

Copyright © 2015 American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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