Obesity is associated with altered fatty acid profiles, reduced fertility, and assisted reproductive technology (ART) success. The effects of palmitic acid (PA), oleic acid (OA), and their combination on mouse preimplantation development, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress pathway gene expression, lipid droplet formation, and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) were characterized. Two-cell stage mouse embryos collected from superovulated and mated CD1 females were placed into culture with KSOMaa medium, or PA alone or in combination with OA for 46 h. PA significantly reduced blastocyst development in a concentration-dependent manner, which was prevented by co-treatment with OA. PA and OA levels in mouse reproductive tracts were assessed by liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (LC-MS). LC-MS indicated higher concentrations of PA in the mouse oviduct than the uterus. Transcript analysis revealed that PA alone groups had increased ER stress pathway (ATF3, CHOP, and XBP1 splicing) mRNAs, which was alleviated by OA co-treatment. OA co-treatment significantly increased lipid droplet accumulation and significantly decreased mitochondrial ROS from PA treatment alone. PA treatment for only 24 h significantly reduced its impact on blastocyst development from the 2-cell stage. Thus, PA affects ER stress pathway gene expression, lipid droplet accumulation, and mitochondrial ROS in treated preimplantation embryos. These mechanisms may serve to offset free fatty acid exposure effects on preimplantation development, but their protective ability may be overwhelmed by elevated PA.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/dean-betts/31/