Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is a major ingredient of catechin polyphenols and exerts protective effects because of its strong antioxidant properties. As far as we know, there is still a lack of systematic research on the effects of EGCG on the in vitro maturation (IVM) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) of porcine oocytes. The present study aimed to determine the effects of EGCG on the IVM and IVF of porcine oocytes.
Porcine oocytes were treated with different concentrations of EGCG (5, 10 and 20 µM), and the cumulus cell expansion, oocyte maturation rate, reactive oxygen species (ROS), glutathione (GSH) and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels, total antioxidant capacity were determined. The mRNA expression levels of oxidative stress- and apoptosis-associated genes were determined by quantitative real-time PCR. The cleavage rate and blastocyst rate of oocytes after 10 μM EGCG treatment during IVM and IVF were also evaluated.
EGCG at 5, 10 and 20 μM significantly promoted cumulus cell expansion, and EGCG at 10 μM increased the oocyte maturation rate. EGCG (10 μM) treatment reduced the ROS and MDA levels, while increased the antioxidant capacity and GSH concentrations in the mature oocytes. The qRT-PCR results showed that EGCG treatment up-regulated the mRNA expression of catalase, glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase in the mature oocytes. In addition, EGCG treatment also decreased the mRNA expression levels of Bax and caspase-3 and increased the Bcl-2 mRNA expression level in the mature oocytes. In addition, the cleavage rate and blastocyst rate of oocytes treated with 10 μM EGCG during IVM and IVF were significantly higher than those of the control group.