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In Vivo. 2012 Sep-Oct;26(5):827-34.

Doxorubicin induces early embryo apoptosis by inhibiting poly(ADP ribose) polymerase.

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  • 1Department of Animal Sciences, Chungbuk National University, Chungbuk, Cheongju 361-763, South Korea.



The effect of Doxorubicin, a widely used chemotherapeutic agent, on early mouse embryonic development has not been previously characterized.


Expression of apoptosis-related genes and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) family genes were assessed by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Apoptosis in mouse blastocysts was tested using the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) assay. Cleaved (c)-PARP was analyzed by western blot.


A 20 h exposure to doxorubicin caused rapid cytoplasmic fragmentation, DNA condensation and disruption of the cytoskeleton in mouse embryos. Doxorubicin altered the expression of genes involved in DNA repair and apoptosis and blocked early embryonic development, suggesting that doxorubicin affects DNA synthesis and repair. Furthermore, the effect of doxorubicin on early embryo development was determined by assessing the rates of development to different stages and an apoptosis index. Both assays confirmed that doxorubicin altered embryonic development. In conclusion, doxorubicin blocked pre-implantation development in early mouse embryos by altering apoptosis-related gene expression and inactivating DNA repair by PARP.

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