Involvement of K+ATP and Ca2+ channels in hydrogen sulfide-suppressed ageing of porcine oocytes
Hydrogen sulfide has been shown to improve the quality of oocytes destined for in vitro fertilization. Although hydrogen sulfide is capable of modulating ion channel activity in somatic cells, the role of hydrogen sulfide in gametes and embryos remains unknown. Our observations confirmed the hypothesis that the KATP and L-type Ca2+ ion channels play roles in porcine oocyte ageing and revealed a plausible contribution of hydrogen sulfide to the modulation of ion channel activity.
We confirmed the benefits of the activation and suppression of the KATP and L-type Ca2+ ion channels, respectively, for the preservation of oocyte quality.
Our experiments identified hydrogen sulfide as promoting the desired ion channel activity, with the capacity to protect porcine oocytes against cell death. Further experiments are needed to determine the exact mechanism of hydrogen sulfide in gametes and embryos.
KeywordsOocyte Gasotransmitter Hydrogen sulfide Ion channel Oocyte ageing
the activator of L-type Ca2+ channels (BAY K8644)
assisted reproductive technology
the K+ATP channel blocker (glibenclamide)
ATP-sensitive K+ ion channels
metaphase II (2nd meiotic division)
Na2S·9H2O, sodium sulfide nonahydrate
Matured metaphase II (MII) oocytes are destined for fertilization and, therefore, represent essential cells in human reproduction, as well as assisted reproduction technologies (ART) when natural reproduction fails. However, oocyte maturation is not strictly synchronized at MII, and oocytes undergo undesirable changes related to post-ovulatory ageing. These changes ultimately manifest in cell death (i.e., apoptosis or lysis) or parthenogenetically activated embryonic development [1, 2].
Accordingly, age-related signalling has been extensively studied, and various substances with oocyte protective effects have been tested [3, 4]. Gasotransmitters, particularly hydrogen sulfide, represent potent signalling molecules involved in the regulation of oocyte maturation and ageing [3, 5, 6]. Accordingly, a hydrogen sulfide treatment suppresses the negative effects of oocyte ageing, such as parthenogenetic activation and oocyte/embryo death, in a dose-dependent manner . The mechanism of hydrogen sulfide action is well studied. Indeed, hydrogen sulfide-activated ATP-sensitive K+ (K+ATP) ion channels have been described, while L-type Ca2+ ion channels have also been shown to be inhibited by hydrogen sulfide [7, 8]. S-sulfhydration, a hydrogen sulfide-derived post-translational modification , is considered to be the mechanism of hydrogen sulfide action towards ion channels . Although the actions of hydrogen sulfide have been intensively studied in somatic cells, findings in gametes are rare [5, 11].
In the present study, we hypothesized that hydrogen sulfide also modulates the activity of K+ATP and/or L-type Ca2+ ion channels in aged oocytes. We used oocytes from the well-established biomedical model of the domestic pig (Sus scrofa) and explored possible ways to preserve the quality of oocytes and improve their availability for ART. We have observed a protective effect of hydrogen sulfide treatment on aged oocytes and subsequently revealed hydrogen sulfide to be a signalling molecule in oocyte [reviewed by 12]. Based on known targets of hydrogen sulfide with potent cell-protective activities , we pharmacologically induced the activation and inhibition of K+ATP and Ca2+ ion channels through minoxidil and verapamil treatment of aged oocytes, respectively. We tracked intact MII oocytes and all undesired oocyte phenotypes.
Materials and methods
All chemicals were purchased from Sigma-Aldrich (USA) unless otherwise stated.
Pig oocyte collection and oocyte ageing
Pig ovaries were obtained from non-cyclic gilts at a local slaughterhouse (Jatky Cesky Brod, a.s., Czech Republic) and transported to the laboratory. Cumulus-oocyte complexes were collected from 3 to 5 mm follicles by aspiration using a syringe and 20G needle. Fully grown immature oocytes with intact ooplasm and compact layers of cumulus cells were selected for in vitro maturation in modified M199 culture medium for 48 h at 39 °C and 5% CO2 . Matured MII oocytes were denuded and subjected to further in vitro cultivation in modified M199 under standard conditions for 72 h .
Pharmacological treatment of aged oocytes
During the 72 h in vitro culture of matured oocytes, minoxidil (K+ATP channel activator), verapamil hydrochloride (L-type Ca2+ channel blocker) or Na2S·9H2O was added. In further experiments, Na2S supplementation was combined with different concentrations of glibenclamide (K+ channel blocker) or BAY K8644 (L-type Ca2+ channel agonist).
Evaluation of oocyte ageing
Data from 120 oocytes per group in three independent experiments are expressed as the mean ± S.E.M. The data were processed using Statistica Cz 12 (StatSoft, USA). For comparisons of the study groups, one-way ANOVA (for quantitative variables) was used. In the case of a significant overall finding, differences between individual group pairs were assessed using the Bonferroni post hoc test. The level of statistical significance was set at α = 0.05.
Results and discussion
The modulation of ion channel activity suppresses oocyte ageing
K+ channel inhibition reduces the protective effect of hydrogen sulfide against oocyte ageing
Based on the aforementioned protective effect of hydrogen sulfide , we speculated that K+ channel activity has a positive effect on aged oocytes. Moreover, the ability of hydrogen sulfide to modulate ion channel activity is known [7, 8], as is the protective effect of K+ATP channel activation alone (see above). Based on the ability of hydrogen sulfide to activate K+ATP channels, we sought to reverse the positive effect of the hydrogen sulfide donor using glibenclamide, a K+ATP channel blocker (iKATP).
L-type Ca2+ channel activation impairs the protective effect of hydrogen sulfide against oocyte ageing
In addition to K+ATP channels, we tested the role of Ca2+ channels in hydrogen sulfide-protected oocytes. Consistent with our observation of the beneficial effect of Ca2+ channel inhibition (see above), we experimentally reversed the positive effect of the hydrogen sulfide donor using BAY K8644 an activator of L-type Ca2+ channels (aCa).
JN, TZ and KH interpreted the data and drafted the manuscript. MS and PH carried out statistical analysis. AP participated in data interpretation. JP conceived the study, performed experiments and drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Availability of data and materials
Consent for publication
Ethics approval and consent to participate
This work was supported by the National Agency of Agriculture Sciences (NAZV QJ1510138) and the Czech Ministry of Agriculture (MZeRO 0718); JN MS and PH were supported by the Charles University Research Fund (Progres Q39) and the National Sustainability Program I (NPU I) Nr. LO1503 provided by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic.
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