Research Paper Volume 13, Issue 2 pp 2727—2749

Melatonin protects against oxybenzone-induced deterioration of mouse oocytes during maturation

Long Jin1, *, , Hai-Ying Zhu1, *, , Xiang-Jin Kang1, , Li-Ping Lin1, , Pu-Yao Zhang2, , Tao Tan3, , Yang Yu2, , Yong Fan1, ,

  • 1 Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Key Laboratory for Major Obstetric Diseases of Guangdong Province, Key Laboratory of Reproduction and Genetics of Guangdong Higher Education Institutes, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou 510150, Guangdong, China
  • 2 Beijing Key Laboratory of Reproductive Endocrinology and Assisted Reproductive Technology and Key Laboratory of Assisted Reproduction, Ministry of Education, Center for Reproductive Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Peking University Third Hospital, Beijing 100191, China
  • 3 Yunnan Key Laboratory of Primate Biomedical Research, Institute of Primate Translational Medicine, Kunming University of Scienceand Technology, Kunming 650500, Yunnan, China
* Equal contribution

Received: September 22, 2020       Accepted: November 11, 2020       Published: December 29, 2020
How to Cite

Copyright: © 2020 Jin 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.


Oxybenzone (OBZ), an ultraviolet light filter that is widely used in sunscreens and cosmetics, is an emerging contaminant found in humans and the environment. Recent studies have shown that OBZ has been detected in women’s plasma, urine, and breast milk. However, the effects of OBZ exposure on oocyte meiosis have not been addressed. In this study, we investigated the detrimental effects of OBZ on oocyte maturation and the protective roles of melatonin (MT) in OBZ-exposed mouse models. Our in vitro and in vivo results showed that OBZ suppressed oocyte maturation, while MT attenuated the meiotic defects induced by OBZ. In addition, OBZ facilitated H3K4 demethylation by increasing the expression of the Kdm5 family of genes, elevating ROS levels, decreasing GSH, impairing mitochondrial quality, and disrupting spindle configuration in oocytes. However, MT treatment resulted in significant protection against OBZ-induced damage during oocyte maturation and improved oocyte quality. The mechanisms underlying the beneficial roles of MT involved reduction of oxidative stress, inhibition of apoptosis, restoration of abnormal spindle assembly and up-regulation of H3K4me3. Collectively, our results suggest that MT protects against defects induced by OBZ during mouse oocyte maturation in vitro and in vivo.


OBZ: oxybenzone; MT: melatonin; ROS: reactive oxygen species; GSH: glutathione; UV: ultraviolet; FDA: Food and Drug Administration; EDC: endocrine disrupting chemical; HSCR: Hirschsprung’s disease; ART: assisted reproductive technology; PBE: polar body extrusion; H3K4me3: trimethyl-histone H3 lysine 4; H3K36me3: trimethylation of lysine 36 on histone H3; IVM: in vitro maturation; ZGA: zygotic genome activation; MT1: melatonin receptor 1; MT2: melatonin receptor 2; PARP: poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1; PPARs: peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors; ICR: Institute of Cancer Research; IU: international units; PMSG: pregnant mare serum gonadotropin; hCG: human chorionic gonadotropin; MII: metaphase II; PBS-PVA: 1% PVA-supplemented PBS; PBS-PFA: 4% paraformaldehyde in PBS; PBS-BSA: 2% bovine serum albumin; DCHFDA: 2’,7’-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate; ΔΨm: Mitochondrial membrane potential; JC-1: 5,5’,6,6’-tetrachloro-1,1’,3,3’-tetraethylbenzimidazolyl-carbocyanine iodide; LOD: limit of detection; qRT-PCR: quantitative real-time PCR; GAPDH: Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase..