Background: Human follicular fluid (FF) is a unique biological fluid in which the oocyte develops in vivo, and presents an optimal source for non-invasive biochemical predictors. Oocyte quality directly influences the embryo development and hence, may be used as a predictor of embryo quality. Peptide profiling of FF and its potential use as a biomarker for oocyte quality has never been reported.
Methods: This study screened FF for peptide biomarkers that predict the outcome of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Potential biomarkers were discovered by investigating 2 training datasets, consisting both of 17 samples and validating on an independent experiment containing 32 samples. Peptide profiles were acquired by nano-scale liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (nano LC-MS/MS).
Results: From the training datasets 53 peptides were found as potential biomarker candidates, predicting the fertilization outcome of 24 out of the 32 validation samples blindly (81.3% sensitivity, 68.8% specificity, AUC = 0.86). Seven potential biomarker peptides were identified. They were derived from: insulin-like growth factor binding protein-5, alpha-2-antiplasmin, complement component 3, inter-alpha-trypsin inhibitor heavy chain H1, serum albumin, protein diaphanous homolog 1 and plastin-3.
Conclusions: The MS-based comprehensive peptidomic approach carried out in this study, established a novel panel of potential biomarkers that present a promising predictive accuracy rate in fertilization outcome, and indicates FF as an interesting biomarker resource to improve IVF clinic routine.
Keywords: Biomarker; Follicular fluid; Oocyte quality; Peptide.