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  • Author: Dan Guo x
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Yan Wang, Hualin Huang, Minghua Zeng, Ru-Ping Quan, Jun-Ting Yang, Dan Guo, Ying Sun, Hongwen Deng and Hongmei Xiao

In this study, we investigated a gene-edited (Zp2 MT/MT) rat model of infertility caused by the failure to express the zona pellucida glycoprotein 2 (ZP2) due to the significant reduction of mRNA amount. We examined the defects in the zona pellucida (ZP) caused by ZP2 nullification and the influence of these defects on aspects of oocyte development, including apoptosis and fertilization ability. To investigate the cause of the influence to the oocytes’ development, we evaluated the morphology of follicular transzonal projections (TZPs), known as ‘bridges’, which mediate the bidirectional signaling between the oocyte and surrounding granulosa cells and the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in ovulated eggs. Our results showed that two types of ZP defects were generated in the Zp2 MT/MT rat,that is, ZP intact but thinned and ZP cracked (or even absent). The fertilization rate of the ovulated eggs reduced in both types, while increased oocyte apoptosis was observed only in the latter type. Moreover, the increased oocyte apoptosis rate correlated closely with the reduction in follicular TZPs and increased ROS levels in ovulated egg. In conclusion, nullification of rat ZP2 destroyed the integrity of the ZP, impaired the bidirectional signaling between the oocyte and surrounding granulosa cells. Therefore, the resulting infertility likely occurs via elevation of oxidative stress and oocytes apoptosis.