Effect of quercetin on the zona pellucida thickness, hatching rate of blastocysts and the number of viable and apoptotic cells of mouse embryos exposed to hydrogen peroxide: an experimental study

Sara sadat Javadinia,1,* Sam zarbakhsh,2

1. Research Center of Nervous System Stem Cells, Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Semnan University of Medical Sciences



Quercetin is one of the six subclasses of flavonoids which is abundant in fruits and vegetables and has high antioxidant activity. hydrogen peroxide (h2o2) is one of the reactive oxygen species it can induce apoptosis in embryonic cells. the aim was to evaluate the effect of quercetin on the embryonic quality parameters such as zona pellucida (zp) thickness, the hatching rate and the number of viable and apoptotic cells of preimplantation embryos exposed to h2o2 in mice.


Two-cell embryos in the culture medium were randomly divided into four groups (control, quercetin, h2o2, and quercetin + h2o2 group). blastocysts percentage, hatched blastocysts, and zp thickness of blastocysts was measured. the number of blastomeres was calculated by hoechst and propidium iodide staining and the apoptotic cells number was counted by tunel assay.


The results indicated that the use of quercetin dramatically improved the percentage of hatched blastocysts and the number of viable cells and the thickness of zp was thinner compared to the control and h2o2 groups. moreover, quercetin significantly reduced the destructive effects of h2o2 and the number of apoptotic cells (p<0.05).


Quercetin may protect the embryos against h2o2 in culture medium and improve the embryonic quality parameters by thinning of the zp thickness, increasing the number of viable cells and hatching rate and decreasing the number of apoptotic cells so it can help the development of the blastocysts.


Quercetin , hydrogen peroxide, embryo culture, zona pellucida , apoptosis