Published online by Cambridge University Press: 30 October 2019
Kaempferol (KAE) is one of the most common dietary flavonols possessing biological activities such as anticancer, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Although previous studies have reported the biological activity of KAE on a variety of cells, it is not clear whether KAE plays a similar role in oocyte and embryo in vitro culture systems. This study investigated the effect of KAE addition to in vitro maturation on the antioxidant capacity of embryos in porcine oocytes after parthenogenetic activation. The effects of kaempferol on oocyte quality in porcine oocytes were studied based on the expression of related genes, reactive oxygen species, glutathione and mitochondrial membrane potential as criteria. The rate of blastocyst formation was significantly higher in oocytes treated with 0.1 µm KAE than in control oocytes. The mRNA level of the apoptosis-related gene Caspase-3 was significantly lower in the blastocysts derived from KAE-treated oocytes than in the control group and the mRNA expression of the embryo development-related genes COX2 and SOX2 was significantly increased in the KAE-treated group compared with that in the control group. Furthermore, the level of intracellular reactive oxygen species was significantly decreased and that of glutathione was significantly increased after KAE treatment. Mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) was increased and the activity of Caspase-3 was significantly decreased in the KAE-treated group compared with that in the control group. Taken together, these results suggested that KAE is beneficial for the improvement of embryo development by inhibiting oxidative stress in porcine oocytes.