Carryover effect of atrazine and its metabolite-from treated bovine spermatozoa to the embryo's transcriptome

A. Komsky-Elbaz, D. Kalo, Z. Roth

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Atrazine (ATZ) is an extensively used herbicide and ubiquitous environmental contaminant. ATZ and its metabolite, diaminochlorotriazine (DACT), cause several cellular and functional alterations in spermatozoa. We aimed to examine the effect of ATZ/DACT on spermatozoon DNA integrity, fertilization competence, embryonic development, and transcriptome profile of in vitro-produced embryos derived from fertilization with pre-exposed sperm. Bovine spermatozoa exposed to ATZ (0.1 or 1 μM) or DACT (1 or 10 μM) during in vitro capacitation were used for in vitro fertilization of untreated oocytes. Cleavage and blastocyst-formation rates were evaluated 42 h and 7 days postfertilization, respectively. The association between DNA fragmentation and apoptosis (annexin V kit) was determined. Fertilization competence of annexin-positive (AV+) and annexin-negative (AV-) spermatozoa was examined. Microarray analysis was performed for 7-day blastocysts. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection was performed with control (AV+, AV-) and DACT (AV+, AV-) spermatozoa. Cleavage rates did not differ between groups and blastocyst formation tended to be higher for AV-vs. AV+ in both control and DACT groups, suggesting that acrosome reaction, rather than DNA fragmentation, underlies the reduced cleavage. Transcriptomic analysis revealed 139 and 230 differentially expressed genes in blastocysts derived from ATZ- A nd DACT-exposed spermatozoa, respectively, relative to controls. Proteomic analysis shown differential expression of proteins in ATZ-or DACT-treated spermatozoa, in particular proteins related to cellular processes and biological pathways. Therefore, we assume that factors delivered by the spermatozoa, regardless of DNA fragmentation, are also involved. Overall, the current study reveals a deleterious carryover effect of ATZ/DACT from the spermatozoa to the developing embryo.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1162-1180
Number of pages19
JournalBiology of Reproduction
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2021


  • atrazine
  • diaminochlorotriazine
  • embryo development
  • microarray
  • proteomics
  • spermatozoa

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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