Research articles

Coenzyme Q10 in submicron‐sized dispersion improves development, hatching, cell proliferation and adenosine triphosphate content of in vitro‐produced bovine embryos.

Coenzyme Q(10) (CoQ(10)) is an essential component of the plasma membrane ion transporter (PMIT) system and of the electron transport chain in the inner mitochondrial membrane. Because of its intrinsic functions in cell growth and energy metabolism (ATP synthesis), and its protective effects against oxidative stress, CoQ(10) is a good candidate for supporting growth of cells in culture. However, because of its quinone structure, CoQ(10) is extremely lipophilic and practically insoluble in water. We used a specific technology to prepare a submicron-sized dispersion of CoQ(10), inhibiting re-crystallization by a stabilizer. This dispersion, which exhibits a very large specific surface area for drug dissolution, was tested as a supplement for the in vitro culture of bovine embryos in a chemically defined system. The rate of early cleavage of embryos (5- to 8-cell stages) was evaluated 66 h postinsemination (hpi) and was highest in medium supplemented with 30 or 100 microM CoQ(10) (66.5 +/- 0.8% and 68.7 +/- 1.1%, respectively) and lowest in 10 microM CoQ(10) (55.3 +/- 0.8%). The proportions of oocytes developing to blastocysts by 186 hpi were 19.0 +/- 0.6% and 25.2 +/- 0.3% in medium supplemented with 10 microM and 30 microM CoQ(10), respectively, and were significantly (p < 0.001) higher than those obtained with the equivalent amounts of stabilizer (9.9 +/- 0.4% and 11.3 +/- 0.4%). In the presence of 30 microM CoQ(10), significantly (p < 0.001) more blastocysts hatched by 210 hpi than in the equivalent amount of stabilizer (31.8 +/- 1.3 vs. 8.4 +/- 2.2). Expanded blastocysts produced in the presence of 30 microM CoQ(10) had significantly (p < 0.01) more inner cell mass cells and trophectoderm cells, and a significantly (p < 0.001) increased ATP content as compared to expanded blastocysts produced in the presence of the corresponding amount of stabilizer. Our results show that noncrystalline CoQ(10) insubmicron-sized dispersion supports the development and viability of bovine embryos produced in a chemically defined culture system.