Effects of Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) Aqueous Extract on In vitro Maturation, Fertilization and Embryo Development of Mouse Oocytes

(Pages: 259-264)
Somayeh Tavana, M.Sc., 1,2Hussein Eimani, Ph.D., 1,3,*Mahnaz Azarnia, Ph.D., 2Abdolhossein Shahverdi, Ph.D., 1Poopak Eftekhari-Yazdi, Ph.D., 1
* Corresponding Address: P.O.Box: 16635-148 Department of Embryology Reproductive Biomedicine Research Center Royan Institute for Reproductive Biomedicine ACECR Tehran Iran Department of Anatomy Faculty of Medicine Baqiyatallah (a.s.) University of Medical Sciences Tehran Iran Email: eimanih@royaninstitute.org
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Tavana Somayeh, Eimani Hussein, Azarnia Mahnaz, Shahverdi Abdolhossein, Eftekhari-Yazdi Poopak. Effects of Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) Aqueous Extract on In vitro Maturation, Fertilization and Embryo Development of Mouse Oocytes. Cell J. 2012; 13(4): 259-264.



Lower pregnancy rates of in vitro matured oocytes compared to those of in vivo stimulated cycles indicate that optimization of in vitro maturation (IVM) remains a challenge. Reduced developmental competence of in vitro matured oocytes shows that current culture systems for oocyte maturation do not adequately support nuclear and/or cytoplasmic maturation. Therefore this study evaluates the effects of different concentrations of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) aqueous extract (SAE), as an antioxidant agent on IVM of immature mouse oocytes.

Materials and Methods:

In this experimental study ,cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) were collected from 6-8 weeks old novel medical research institute (NMRI) female mice ovaries. COCs were cultured in IVM medium supplemented with 0 (control), 5, 10, 20 and 40 µg/ml of SAE in 5% CO2 at 37℃. The rates of maturation, fertilization and development were recorded. ANOVA and Duncan's protected least significant test, using the SAS program was applied for all statistical analysis.


The maturation rate was significantly higher in all groups treated with different concentrations of SAE compared with the control group (p<0.05). However, the lower concentrations of SAE (10 and 5 µg/ml) in maturation medium respectively increased the fertilization rate of oocytes and in vitro developmental competence when compared with the control group (p<0.05).


The results of this study indicate that lower concentrations of SAE are more appropriate to be added to maturation medium when compared with other experimental and control groups. Generally, we conclude that addition of appropriate amounts of natural extracts such as SAE to maturation medium improves oocyte maturation and embryo development.