Oxidative Stress Alters the Profile of Transcription Factors Related to Early Development on in Vitro Produced Embryos
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High oxygen levels during in vitro culture (IVC) can induce oxidative stress through accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), negatively affecting embryo development. This study evaluated the effect of different O 2 tensions during IVC on bovine blastocyst development and transcriptional status, considering transcription factors that play an essential role during early embryo development. For this purpose, embryos were produced in vitro by conventional protocols and cultured in two different oxygen tensions, physiological (5%) and atmospheric (20%). Expanded blastocysts were subjected to transcript quantitation analysis by RT-qPCR with Biomark™ HD System (Fluidigm, US), using 67 TaqMan assays specific for Bos taurus. Differences were observed in genes related to oxidation-reduction processes, DNA-dependent transcription factors, and factors related to important functional pathways for embryo development. Blastocyst rate was higher in the 5% O 2 group and the number of cells was assessed, with the 5% O 2 group having a higher number of cells. ROS concentration was evaluated, with a higher ROS presence in the 20% O 2 group. Taken together, these results allow us to conclude that IVC of embryos at atmospheric O 2 tension affects the expression of important transcription factors involved in multiple cell biology pathways that can affect embryo development, quality, and viability.