The thiol reagent, thimerosal, irreversibly inhibits meiosis reinitiation in mouse oocyte when applied during a very early and narrow temporal window: a pharmacological analysis.
Mol Reprod Dev. 2003 Aug ;65(4):454-61. PMID: 12840819
The effect of the sulfhydryl reagent, thimerosal (TMS) on meiosis resumption in germinal vesicle (GV)-stage denuded mouse oocytes was studied. It irreversibly inhibits both GV breakdown (GVBD) and the first polar body (pb1) extrusion in concentration- and time-dependent manners, the most striking result being the very early and narrow temporal window during which denuded primary oocytes released from their follicle are susceptible to a pulse of the drug. This inhibition is bypassed by dithiothreitol (DTT) with an efficiency declining with time, while thiosalicylic acid (TA), an analog of TMS devoid of the mercury atom, has no effect on meiosis reinitiation. These results strongly suggest that the inhibitory effect of TMS is a consequence of its sulfhydryl group oxidising activity. The molecular target(s) of this inhibitory oxidation should however be identified. In contrast to DTT, okadaic acid (OA), known to bypass the inhibitory effect of drugs interfering with protein kinase activities, only induces chromatin condensation and GVBD in TMS-pulsed oocytes with a delay of about 8 hr as compared to the control situation. This confirms that a very early thiol oxidation induced by TMS exerts a much more dramatic effect on resumption on meiosis than any pharmacological manipulation of protein kinase activities leading to activation of MPF.