Fluoride Action Network


Excessive long-term fluoride intake is associated with several health problems, including infertility. However, limited information is available on the toxic effects of fluoride exposure on the female reproductive system, especially oocyte maturation. In this study, we investigated the toxic effect of sodium fluoride (NaF) exposure on porcine oocyte maturation and its possible underlying mechanisms. Our results showed that NaF exposure during porcine oocyte maturation inhibited cumulus cell expansion and impaired polar body extrusion. Cell cycle analysis showed that NaF exposure blocked meiotic resumption, disturbed spindle dynamics, disrupted chromosome separation, and increased aneuploidy in porcine oocytes. Moreover, NaF exposure disturbed mitochondrial function, triggered DNA damage response, and induced early apoptosis in porcine oocytes. NaF exposure also induced oxidative stress, decreased GSH level, and increased cathepsin B activity in and impaired the further development potential of porcine oocytes, as indicated by a decrease in blastocyst formation rate, increase in apoptosis, and inhibition of cell proliferation. Together, these results indicate that NaF exposure impairs the maturation capacity of porcine oocytes by inhibiting cumulus cell expansion, disturbing cytoskeletal dynamics, and blocking nuclear and cytoplasmic maturation, thus decreasing the quality and affecting the subsequent embryonic development potential of porcine oocytes.