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Microsc Microanal. 2014 Aug;20(4):1158-66. doi: 10.1017/S1431927614000919. Epub 2014 May 9.

Effect of mycotoxin-containing diets on epigenetic modifications of mouse oocytes by fluorescence microscopy analysis.

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1College of Animal Science and Technology,Nanjing Agricultural University,Nanjing 210095,China.
2Department of Animal Sciences,Chungbuk National University,Cheongju 361-763,Korea.


Mycotoxins, such as aflatoxin (AF), fumonisin B1, zearalenone (ZEA), and deoxynivalenol (DON), are commonly found in many food commodities. Mycotoxins have been shown to increase DNA methylation levels in a human intestinal cell line. We previously showed that the developmental competence of oocytes was affected in mice that had been fed a mycotoxin-containing diet. In this study, we explored possible mechanisms of low mouse oocyte developmental competence after mycotoxin treatment in an epigenetic modification perspective. Mycotoxin-contaminated maize (DON at 3,875 μg/kg, ZEA at 1,897 μg/kg, and AF at 806 μg/kg) was included in diets at three different doses (mass percentage: 0, 15, and 30%) and fed to mice for 4 weeks. The fluorescence intensity analysis showed that the general DNA methylation levels increased in oocytes from high dose mycotoxin-fed mice. Mouse oocyte histone methylation was also altered. H3K9me3 and H4K20me3 level increased in oocytes from mycotoxin-fed mice, whereas H3K27me3 and H4K20me2 level decreased in oocytes from mycotoxin-fed mice. Thus, our results indicate that naturally occurring mycotoxins have effects on epigenetic modifications in mouse oocytes, which may be one of the reasons for reduced oocyte developmental competence.

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