Objective: To determine whether the follicle environment modulates oocyte-specific gene transcript levels in cultured oocytes and polar bodies (PBs).
Design: Animal study.
Setting: Large academic research center.
Animal(s): CD1 mice.
Intervention(s): In vitro growth of secondary mouse follicles in 0.25% or 1.5% alginate (ALG) in a three-dimensional culture system.
Main outcome measure(s): Relative transcript levels of Gdf9, Bmp15, Nlrp5, Tcl1, and Zp3 were measured by real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction in oocytes during in vitro follicle development and oocyte maturation and in their first PBs after removal from metaphase II (MII) eggs.
Result(s): All transcripts decreased earlier in oocytes cultured in 1.5% ALG compared with 0.25% ALG. Transcript levels were lower in MII eggs cultured in 1.5% ALG compared with in 0.25% ALG. All genes were expressed in PBs, and transcript levels were lower in PBs cultured in 1.5% ALG compared with in 0.25% ALG. Abundance of all transcripts was lower in PBs than in their sibling oocytes.
Conclusion(s): Local follicle environment modulates oocyte-specific gene expression in the oocyte and first PB. There is a significant difference in the transcript levels of oocyte-specific genes in PBs of 1.5% versus 0.25% ALG that correlates with ovarian environment-related decreases in oocyte competence.
Copyright © 2013 American Society for Reproductive Medicine. All rights reserved.