Effect of RU486 on Different Stages of Mouse Preimplantation Embryos in Vitro

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17 beta-Hydroxy-11 beta(4-dimethylaminophenyl)-17 alpha-(1-propynyl)estra-4, 9-dien-3-one (RU486) inhibited the in vitro development of different stages of mouse preimplantation embryos under study. Two-celled embryos, morulae, and early blastocysts were obtained from B6D2F1 mice. The embryos were grown in Ham F-10 nutrient mixture (with glutamine) supplemented with sodium bicarbonate (2.1 g/L), calcium lactate (282 mg/L), and bovine serum albumin (fraction V, 3 mg/mL) at 37 degrees C in a humidified incubator supplied with 5% CO2 in air. RU486 was added to the culture medium at concentrations of 1, 5, 10, and 20 micrograms/mL. Culture medium with 0.05% ethanol served as the control. In vitro growth of embryos was assessed by the following criteria: (i) two-celled stage embryo development to blastocyst stage after 72 h, (ii) morula stage grown to blastocyst stage after 24 h, and (iii) early blastocyst stage development to hatching blastocyst after 12 h, in culture. RU486 inhibited the in vitro development of two-celled embryos, morulae, and early blastocysts at concentrations of 5, 10, and 20 micrograms/mL culture medium (p less than 0.001). The inhibitory effect of RU486 at these concentrations on the development of all the stages of embryos under study was irreversible. However, RU486 did not affect embryo development at 1 microgram/mL culture medium. The study indicates the direct adverse effect of RU486 at 5 micrograms/mL and higher concentrations in culture medium on the development of mouse preimplantation embryos in vitro, and it encourages its further investigation as a postcoital contraceptive in animal models and humans.