Parabens (PBs) are compounds widely used in industry for food and personal care products as antimicrobials and preservatives. Their indiscriminate use has resulted in their detection in different ecosystems so that humans and other organisms are highly exposed. Methylparaben (MePB), compared with other PBs, is mostly detected in food, personal care and baby care products. PBs could be linked to the generation of hormonal disorders and fertility impairment since their recent classification as endocrine disruptors. The knowledge of the effects that MePB can exert is of great importance as, in terms of reproduction, information is limited. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of MePB on porcine oocyte viability and in vitro maturation (IVM), as well as to determine the lethal concentration at 50% (LC ) and the maturation inhibition concentration at 50% (MIC ). Oocytes were exposed to different MePB concentrations 0 (control), 50, 100, 500, 750 and 1000 μm during 44 h of IVM. Cytoplasmic alterations and reduced cumulus cell expansion were observed in oocytes exposed to MePB; however, viability was not affected. In addition, oocyte maturation decreased in a concentration-dependent manner after exposure to MePB. The estimated LC was 2028.38 μm, whereas MIC was 780.31 μm. To our knowledge, this is the first study that demonstrates that MePB altered porcine oocyte morphology, and caused a reduction in cumulus cell expansion, both of which resulted in decreased oocyte maturation. Therefore, MePB exposure may be one of the factors involved in fertility impairment in mammals, including that of humans.
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.