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SUMMARY

This study aimed to investigate the effects of 3-hydroxyflavone, a natural antioxidant pigment enriched in vegetables, on the developmental cellular and molecular characteristics of bovine somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) embryos. There were no significant differences in the cleavage rate at 48 hr of culture or in the inner cell mass (ICM)-to-trophectoderm (TE) ratio between 3-hydroxyflavone addition and untreated (control) groups (P > 0.05). 3-hydroxyflavone (20 µM) did, however, increase the cleavage rate at 24 hr of culture and the blastocyst-formation rate on Days 6 and 7 (P < 0.05); decrease the levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species in two-, four-, and eight-cell stage embryos (P < 0.05); increase H3K9ac levels in two- and four-cell stages (P < 0.05); increase the total cell number; and decrease the apoptosis index in Day-7 blastocysts. Furthermore, the addition of 3-hydroxyflavone resulted in lower expression of the stress-related gene HSP70.1 and pro-apoptotic gene BAX, as well as higher expression of the anti-apoptotic gene BCL-xL and pluripotency-related genes OCT4 and SOX2 in Day-7 blastocysts produced by SCNT (P < 0.05). The addition of 3-hydroxyflavone during in vitro culture thus exerted beneficial effects on preimplantation development of bovine SCNT embryos both at the cellular and molecular levels. Mol. Reprod. Dev. 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.