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Combined inhibitory effects of low temperature and N-acetyl-l-cysteine on the postovulatory aging of mouse oocytes

  • Qian Li (a1) and Long-Bo Cui (a2)


The postovulatory aging of oocytes eventually affects the development of oocytes and embryos. Oxidative stress is known to accelerate the onset of apoptosis in oocytes and influence their capacity for fertilisation. This study aimed to reveal the roles of temperature and the antioxidant N-acetyl-l-cysteine in preventing the aging of postovulatory mouse oocytes. First, newly ovulated mouse oocytes were cultured at various temperature and time combinations in HCZB medium with varying concentrations of N-acetyl-l-cysteine to assess signs of aging and developmental potential. When cultured in HCZB with 300 μM N-acetyl-l-cysteine at different temperature and incubation time combinations (namely 25°C for 12 h, 15°C for 24 h and 5°C for 12 h), the increase in the susceptibility of oocytes to activating stimuli was efficiently prevented, and the developmental potential was maintained following Sr2+ activation or in vitro fertilisation. After incubation at either 15°C for 36 h or 5°C for 24 h, oocytes that had decreased blastocyst rates displayed unrecoverable abnormal cortical granule distribution together with decreased BCL2 levels, total glutathione concentrations and glutathione/glutathione disulphide (GSH/GSSG) ratios. In conclusion, postovulatory oocyte aging could be effectively inhibited by appropriate N-acetyl-l-cysteine addition at low temperatures. In addition, a simple method for the temporary culture of mature oocytes was established.


Corresponding author

All correspondence to: Qian Li. College of Life Science, Yantai University, YanTai, Shandong 264005, China. Tel: +86 5356900638. Fax: +86 5356900638. E-mail:


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Combined inhibitory effects of low temperature and N-acetyl-l-cysteine on the postovulatory aging of mouse oocytes

  • Qian Li (a1) and Long-Bo Cui (a2)


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