We have previously shown that AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) can induce the resumption of meiosis in mouse oocytes maintained in meiotic arrest in vitro. The present study was carried out to determine whether AMPK activation is involved in hormone-induced maturation. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and the EGF-like peptide, amphiregulin (AR), are potent inducers of maturation in cumulus cell-enclosed oocytes (CEO). Within 3 h of FSH treatment, phospho-acetyl CoA carboxylase (ACC) levels were increased in germinal vesicle (GV)-stage oocytes when compared to non-stimulated controls and remained elevated throughout 9 h of culture, indicating AMPK activation. A similar response to AR was observed after 6 h of culture. Using anti-PT172 antibody (binds only to activated AMPK), Western analysis demonstrated active AMPK in both FSH- or AR-treated GV-stage oocytes within 6 h. The AMPK inhibitors, compound C and adenine 9-beta-d-arabinofuranoside (araA), blocked FSH- or AR-induced meiotic resumption and ACC phosphorylation, further supporting a causal role for AMPK in hormone-induced meiotic resumption. Immunocytochemistry using anti-PT172-AMPK antibody showed an increased diffuse cytoplasmic staining and more intense punctate staining in the germinal vesicles of oocytes following treatment with the AMPK activator 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-beta-d-ribofuranoside (AICAR) or with FSH or AR, and this staining was eliminated by compound C or a blocking peptide for the anti-PT172 antibody. Staining of oocytes from hCG-stimulated mice with the anti-PT172 antibody also showed pronounced label in the germinal vesicles within 1-2 h. Furthermore, in oocytes from all groups, active AMPK was always observed in association with the condensed chromosomes of maturing oocytes. Taken together, these results support a role for AMPK in FSH and AR-induced maturation in vitro and hCG-induced maturation in vivo.