Melatonin, as a free radical scavenger exhibiting genomic actions, regulates the antioxidant genes expression and apoptosis mechanisms. In polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) patients, an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in follicular fluid leads to oxidative stress, aberrant folliculogenesis, and intrinsic defects in PCOS oocytes. In this experimental mouse model study, oocytes of PCOS and the control groups were cultured in different melatonin concentrations (10- 5, 10- 6, and 10- 7 M) to investigate the expression of oocyte maturation-related genes (Gdf9/Bmp15), antioxidant-related genes (Gpx1/Sod1), apoptotic biomarkers (Bcl2/Bax) and total intracellular ROS levels.
Gdf9 and Bmp15, Gpx1 and Sod1 were up-regulated in PCOS and control oocytes cultured in all melatonin concentrations compared to those cultured in IVM basal medium (P < 0.05). A significant decrease in the total ROS level was observed in all groups cultured in the supplemented cultures. Melatonin increased Bcl2 and decreased Bax gene expression in PCOS and control oocytes compared to non-treated oocytes.
Melatonin increased antioxidant gene expression and regulated the apoptosis pathway, effectively reducing the adverse effects of culture conditions on PCOS oocytes. Furthermore, it influenced the expression of oocyte maturation-related genes in PCOS, providing valuable support during the IVM process.