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Environ Mol Mutagen. 2014 May;55(4):354-62. doi: 10.1002/em.21833. Epub 2013 Nov 28.

Oocyte quality in mice is affected by a mycotoxin-contaminated diet.

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College of Animal Science and Technology, Nanjing Agriculture University, Nanjing, 210095, China.


Mycotoxins, such as deoxynivalenol (DON), zearalenone (ZEN), and aflatoxin (AF), are commonly found in many food commodities and may impair the growth and reproductive efficiency of animals and humans. We investigated the effects of a mycotoxin-contaminated diet on mouse oocyte quality. Maize contaminated with DON (3.875 mg/kg), ZEN (1,897 μg/kg), and AF (806 μg/kg) was incorporated into a mouse diet at three different levels (0, 15, and 30% w/w). After 4 weeks, ovarian and germinal vesicle oocyte indices decreased in mycotoxin-fed mice. Oocytes from these mice exhibited low developmental competence with reduced germinal vesicle breakdown and polar body extrusion rates. Embryo developmental competence also showed a similar pattern, and the majority of embryos could not develop to the morula stage. Actin expression was also reduced in both the oocyte cortex and cytoplasm, which was accompanied by decreased expression of the actin nucleation factors profilin-1 and mDia1. Moreover, a large percentage of oocytes derived from mice that were fed a mycotoxin-contaminated diet exhibited aberrant spindle morphology, a loss of the cortical granule-free domain, and abnormal mitochondrial distributions, which further supported the decreased oocyte quality. Thus, our results demonstrate that mycotoxins are toxic to the mouse reproductive system by affecting oocyte quality.


actin; mitochondria; mycotoxin; oocyte quality; spindle

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