Research Paper Volume 10, Issue 7 pp 1556—1574
Nicotine exposure impairs germ cell development in human fetal ovaries cultured in vitro
- 1 College of Life Sciences, Institute of Reproductive Sciences, Qingdao Agricultural University, Qingdao 266109, China
- 2 The First Affiliated Hospital of Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100039, China
- 3 Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, University of Rome ‘Tor Vergata’, Rome 00133, Italy
- 4 Center for Reproductive Medicine, Qingdao Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Qingdao University, Qingdao 266034, China
received: January 19, 2018 ; accepted: July 5, 2018 ; published: July 12, 2018 ;https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.101492
How to Cite
Copyright: Cheng et al. This is an open‐access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
In the present paper, we found that human fetal ovaries (at ~16 weeks) express the transcripts for several subunits of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR). Exposure to the drug in vitro resulted in the marked increase of apoptosis in the ovaries in a time and dose-dependent manner. Evidence that adverse nicotine effects are potentially due to an increased level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and consequent DNA damage, both in the ovarian somatic cells and germ cells, are reported. After 4 days of culture, exposure to 1 mM and 10 mM nicotine caused a 50% and 75% decrease, respectively, in the number of oogonia/oocytes present in the fetal ovaries. These results represent the first indication that nicotine may directly cause apoptosis in cells of the fetal human ovary and may lead to a reduction of the ovarian reserve oocytes and consequent precocious menopause in mothers smoking during pregnancy.