Abstract

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.