Gene Expression Patterns
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Obese women experience greater incidence of infertility, with reproductive tracts exposing preimplantation embryos to elevated free fatty acids (FFA) such as palmitic acid (PA) and oleic acid (OA). PA treatment impairs mouse preimplantation development in vitro, while OA co-treatment rescues blastocyst development of PA treated embryos. In the present study, we investigated the effects of PA and OA treatment on NRF2/Keap1 localization, and relative antioxidant enzyme (Glutathione peroxidase; Gpx1, Catalase; Cat, Superoxide dismutase; Sod1 and γ-Glutamylcysteine ligase catalytic unit; Gclc) mRNA levels, during in vitro mouse preimplantation embryo development. Female mice were superovulated, mated, and embryos cultured in the presence of bovine Serum albumin (BSA) control or PA, or OA, alone (each at 100 μM) or PA + OA combined (each at 100 μM) treatment. NRF2 displayed nuclear localization at all developmental stages, whereas Keap1 primarily displayed cytoplasmic localization throughout control mouse preimplantation development in vitro. Relative transcript levels of Nrf2, Keap1, and downstream antioxidants significantly increased throughout control mouse preimplantation development in vitro. PA treatment significantly decreased blastocyst development and the levels of nuclear NRF2, while OA and PA + OA treatments did not. PA and OA treatments did not impact relative mRNA levels of Nrf2, Keap1, Gpx1, Cat, Sod1 or Gclc. Our outcomes demonstrate that cultured mouse embryos display nuclear NRF2, but that PA treatment reduces nuclear NRF2 and thus likely impacts NRF2/KEAP1 stress response mechanisms. Further studies should investigate whether free fatty acid effects on NRF2/KEAP1 contribute to the reduced fertility displayed by obese patients.
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