Effects of dimethyl carbonate‑induced autophagic activation on follicular development in the mouse ovary
- Zonghao Tang
- Zhenghong Zhang
- Yedong Tang
- Lingbin Qi
- Fafu Yang
- Zhengchao Wang
Published online on: October 18, 2017
Copyright: © Tang et al.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License.
Dimethyl carbonate (DMC) is a widely used industrial chemical, which may be increasingly used in the future. However, its toxicity profile remains largely unknown. The present study was designed to investigate the effects of DMC exposure on the ovaries and the effect of autophagy activation on follicular development. Rats were randomly divided into a control group and low, medium and high dose DMC groups (all n=10). Histological analyses identified no marked differences in the rate of apoptosis between the control and low dose groups; however, marked apoptosis occurred in the medium and high dose groups. The expression of cleaved caspase‑3 was significantly increased in the medium and high dose groups, which was consistent with changes observed in the expression of Bcl‑2 and Bax. These results indicated that DMC exposure induces toxicity on ovarian function via the induction of apoptosis. The increased expression of the autophagy‑related proteins light chain 3II, beclin‑1 and p62 following exposure to DMC further indicated that autophagy was activated primarily in the granulosa cells of ovarian follicles in a dose‑dependent manner. In addition, the changes in the expression of hypoxia inducible factor 1 α subunit (HIF‑1α) and its target protein BCL2 interacting protein 3 (BNIP3) indicated that they may serve a role in the follicular development process induced by DMC. The results of the current study demonstrated that DMC exposure activated autophagy in the ovarian tissue. Furthermore, exposure to low doses of DMC may protect follicular development by activating the HIF‑1α/BNIP3 signaling pathway. Taken together, these results indicate that exposure to medium and high doses of DMC induced follicular atresia by activating the apoptotic signaling pathway. This may be an important mechanism of regulating follicular development and ovarian function in mammals.