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Initial investigation of the role of melatonin in the epigenetic reprogramming of primordial germ cells in embryos of pinealectomized rats

Grant number: 17/25528-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2018
Effective date (End): December 31, 2018
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Morphology - Embryology
Principal researcher:Taiza Stumpp Teixeira
Grantee:Julia Janis Santos
Home Institution: Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus São Paulo. São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Primordial germ cells (PGCs) are precursors of gametes and are the only way of transmitting the genetic and epigenetic information to the next generation. As PGC migrate and colonize the future gonads, the expression of germ cell-specific genes, like Mvh (Mouse Vasa Homologue), appear. Also at this stage, epigenetic reprogramming is important for the ultimate differentiation of these cells. Epigenetic reprogramming occurs when PGC DNA is extensively hypomethylated and subsequently undergoes de novo methylation. Melatonin has a broad activity in the reproductive system through epigenetic regulation of genes related to circadian oscillators or involved in its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions. However, the effect of absence of maternal melatonin during pregnancy on germ cell development and epigenetic reprogramming is not known. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of maternal melatonin depletion on PGC epigenetic reprogramming. Wistar rats will be randomly assigned to three experimental groups: control, pinealectomized (PINX) and pinealectomized treated with melatonin (PINX/Mel). At 15 days post-coitus (dpc) the male embryos will be collected for the analysis of MVH expression and for 5mC and 5hmC detection by immunohistochemistry. We expet to find alteration of PGC proliferation and epigenetic reprogramming. This study may contribute to the comprehention of the effects of melatonin depletion, as in the case of shift workers, for example, on germ cell development. (AU)

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