Purpose: As disturbed mitochondrial distribution is thought to be a cause of the aging of oocytes, it was investigated whether oxidizing agents exert harmful effects on nuclear maturation and mitochondrial cluster formation in murine oocytes and whether antioxidants could rescue such harmful effects in vitro. Methods: Oocytes were obtained from female Institute of Cancer Research mice 48 h after an intraperitoneal injection of 7.5 IU pregnant mare serum gonadotropin. The oocytes were cultured with potassium bromate, an oxidizing agent, in the presence or absence of the antioxidant, resveratrol. After 12 h, the nuclear phases and mitochondrial distribution were observed. Results: Significantly decreased rates of metaphase II (MII) oocytes were observed with 750 μM and 1000 μM of potassium bromate, while a significant increase in abnormal mitochondrial clusters was induced at 500 μM, 750 μM, and 1,000 μM. The addition of 10 μM or 20 μM resveratrol improved both MII maturity and the cluster formation rates in the presence of potassium bromate. Conclusions: The addition of potassium bromate reduced MII maturity rates and induced abnormal mitochondrial cluster formation. This effect was alleviated by the antioxidant, resveratrol. The in vitro model used herein is useful for investigating the functions of antioxidants in the aging of oocytes.
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