Ovarian follicular fluid is widely used for in vitro oocyte maturation, but its in-depth characterization to extract full beneficial effects remains unclear. Here, we performed both shotgun (nanoscale liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry or nanoLC-MS/MS) and gel-based (two dimension-differential in-gel electrophoresis or 2D-DIGE) proteomics, followed by functional bioinformatics to compare the proteomes of follicular fluids collected from small (<4 mm) and large (>6-12 mm) follicles of pig ovaries. A total of 2321 unique spots were detected with the 2D-DIGE across small and large follicles, while 2876 proteins with 88% successful annotations were detected with the shotgun approach. The shotgun and 2D-DIGE approaches revealed about 426 and 300 proteins that were respectively common across samples. Six proteins detected with both technical approaches were significantly differently expressed between small and large follicles. Pathways such as estrogen and PI3K-Akt signaling were significantly enriched in small follicles while the complement and coagulation cascades pathways were significantly represented in large follicles. Up-regulated proteins in small follicles were in favor of oocyte maturation, while those in large follicles were involved in the ovulatory process preparation. Few proteins with potential roles during sperm-oocyte interactions were especially detected in FF of large follicles and supporting the potential role of the ovarian FF on the intrafallopian sperm migration and interaction with the oocyte.
Keywords: follicle growth; oocyte maturation; pig fertilization.