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Cell Reprogram. 2014 Aug;16(4):290-7. doi: 10.1089/cell.2013.0088. Epub 2014 Jun 24.

Vitamin C supplementation enhances compact morulae formation but reduces the hatching blastocyst rate of bovine somatic cell nuclear transfer embryos.

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  • 11 College of Veterinary Medicine, Northwest A&F University , Yangling 712100, Shaanxi, China .


Vitamin C, an antioxidant that reduces reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cells, is capable of significantly improving the developmental competence of porcine and mouse somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) embryos, both in vitro and in vivo. In the present study, the effects of vitamin C on the developmental competence of bovine SCNT embryos were investigated. The results indicated that vitamin C (40 μg/mL) positively affected the scavenging of intracellular ROS, cleavage rate at 24 h (76.67 vs. 68.26%, p<0.05), compact morulae formation (60.83 vs. 51.30%, p<0.05), and the blastomere apoptosis index (3.70 ± 1.41 vs. 4.43% ± 1.65, p<0.05) of bovine SCNT embryos. However, vitamin C supplementation did not significantly affect the blastocyst formation rate and proportion of inner cell mass over total cells per blastocyst on day 7. Moreover, vitamin C supplementation obviously impaired the total cell numbers per blastocyst (97.20 ± 11.35 vs. 88.57 ± 10.43, p<0.05) on day 7 and the hatching blastocysts formation rate on day 9 (26.51 vs. 50.65%, p<0.05) compared with that of the untreated group. Vitamin C supplementation preferentially improved the viability of bovine SCNT embryos prior to the blastocyst stage, but did not enhance the formation and quality of blastocysts in vitro. In conclusion, the effect of vitamin C on the development of bovine SCNT embryos is complex, and vitamin C is not a suitable antioxidant chemical for the in vitro culture of bovine SCNT embryos.

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