Background: The cumulus-oocyte complex plays a central role in the regulation of folliculogenesis where it is important for the maturation, reprogramming, and fertilization of oocytes. Consequently, cumulus cell gene expression profiling is being explored as a promising method for assessing oocyte competence in the near future. Through DNA microarray technology, we analyzed the potential differences in the gene expression profiles of cumulus cells from preovulatory follicles after controlled ovarian stimulation using different types of gonadotropins.
Methods: A prospective, randomized study was performed among 90 women participating in an oocyte donation program. Subjects were assigned to receive recombinant follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), urinary FSH, or human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG). The gene expression profile in cumulus cells was analyzed according the type of gonadotropin received during ovarian stimulation. Furthermore, we also performed a gene ontology analysis to provide structural knowledge.
Results: Hierarchical clustering, principal component analysis, and gene enrichment analysis revealed greater differences between the urinary FSH and hMG groups compared to the rest of the pair-wise comparisons; recombinant FSH vs hMG and urinary FSH vs recombinant FSH.
Conclusions: Data suggest that controlled ovarian stimulation induces specific gene expression profiles in human cumulus cells depending on the type of gonadotropin used.
Trial registration: Registered at clinicaltrials.gov; identifier NCT022437032.
Keywords: Cumulus cells; Gene expression profile; Ovarian stimulation.
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