Research Summary: Chronic Unpredictable Stress Decreases Expression of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) in Mouse Ovaries: Relationship to Oocytes Developmental Potential



Brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) was originally described in the nervous system but has been shown to be expressed in ovary tissues recently, acting as a paracrine/autocrine regulator required for developments of follicles and oocytes. Although it is generally accepted that chronic stress impairs female reproduction and decreases the expression of BDNF in limbic structures of central nervous system, which contributes to mood disorder. However, it is not known whether chronic stress affects oocytes developments, nor whether it affects expression of BDNF in ovary.


Mice were randomly assigned into control group, stressed group, BDNF-treated group and BDNF-treated stressed group. The chronic unpredictable mild stress model was used to produce psychosocial stress in mice, and the model was verified by open field test and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity. The methods of immunohistochemistry and western blotting were used to detect BDNF protein level and distribution. The number of retrieved oocytes, oocyte maturation, embryo cleavage and the rates of blastocyst formation after parthenogenetic activation were evaluated.


Chronic unpredictable stress decreased the BDNF expression in antral follicles, but didn’t affect the BDNF expression in primordial, primary and secondary follicles. Chronic unpredictable stress also decreased the number of retrieved oocytes and the rate of blastocyst formation, which was rescued by exogenous BDNF treatment.


BDNF in mouse ovaries may be related to the decreased number of retrieved oocytes and impaired oocytes developmental potential induced by chronic unpredictable stress.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 20-December-2012

Author(s): Wu L., Hu M., Tong X., Han H., Shen N., Jin R., Wang W., Zhou G., He G., Liu Y.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *