In the present study we demonstrated the effects of the spin-trapping agent α-phenyl-N-tert-butylnitrone (PBN) on the in vitro development of rat embryos at the early stage. In rat embryos, PBN increased the speed of the first cleavage and had no toxicity during pregnancy after embryo culture. These results showed that reactive oxygen species (ROIs) that were formed by activating molecular oxygens through redox reactions regulated the speed of development for early-stage embryos. Thus, PBN caused a decrease in the level of ROIs and toxicity and an in increase in the level of the development of rat embryos. On the other hand, PBN could not decrease the 2-cell block in vitro nor increase the blastulation rate, in contrast to the fact that a scavenger of superoxide anions, SOD, is effective in doing so for mouse embryos. From these results it was concluded that free radicals play an important role in the in vitro development of rat embryos at the early stage, but play no role in the decrease of the 2-cell block or their blastulation rate. It should be noted that PBN had no toxicity for embryonic development at the 2-cell stage.
- α-phenyl-tert-butyl nitrone (PBN)
- 2-cell block
- Free radicals
- In vitro culture
- Rat embryos