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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Glutathione is present in reproductive tract secretions and improves development of mouse embryos after chemically induced glutathione depletion.

We investigated the hypothesis that reduced glutathione (GSH) is present in secretions of the female reproductive tract and that this extracellular GSH may protect preimplantation mouse embryos after intracellular GSH depletion. The cleavage-stage mouse embryo cannot synthesize GSH de novo and is unable to recover from glutathione depletion in vitro. Analysis of GSH and total protein of oviduct flushings, quantified by HPLC and the Bradford method, respectively, revealed 51 nmol GSH per mg total protein. Embryos were treated with 60 microM diethyl maleate (DEM) to deplete cellular GSH. When cultured with 1 mM GSH, these embryos exhibited improved development compared to those cultured in control medium (96% vs. 87% morula [p < 0.05], 78% vs. 75% blastocyst, 58% vs. 54% expanded blastocyst, 21% vs. 17% initiating hatching blastocyst). However, intracellular GSH content of embryos was not significantly increased by the culture of DEM-treated embryos in medium containing GSH for 16, 40, or 64 h of incubation, suggesting that the embryo is not capable of taking up intact GSH. Furthermore, addition of buthionine sulfoximine (which inhibits synthesis of GSH) or acivicin (which inhibits breakdown of GSH at the membrane) to culture medium blocked the improvement in development. These data suggest that GSH in reproductive tract fluid may help protect preimplantation embryos from the adverse effects of toxicant-induced and endogenous depletion of embryonic GSH.[1]


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