Author(s): Yang JG, Chen WY, Li PS
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Abstract The aim of this study was to assess the possible role of glucocorticoids in the maturation of pig oocytes and their subsequent fertilizing capacity in vitro. Pig cumulus-enclosed oocytes collected from prepubertal gilts were cultured in Waymouth MB752/1 medium supplemented with sodium pyruvate (50 microg/ml), LH (0.5 microg/ml), FSH (0.5 microg/ml), and estradiol-17beta (1 microg/ml) in the presence or absence of cortisol or dexamethasone (DEX) for 24 h; they then were cultured without hormonal supplements in the presence or absence of cortisol or DEX for an additional 16-24 h. Treatment of cumulus-enclosed or denuded oocytes with increasing concentrations of cortisol or DEX for 48 h resulted in a dose-response inhibition of germinal vesicle breakdown (GVB). Increasing duration (12-48 h) of treatment with DEX (10 microg/ml) led to a time-dependent inhibition of GVB, which achieved statistical significance by 12 h. The addition of DEX (10 microg/ml) to maturation medium immediately after culture or at 12 h, 24 h, or 36 h after culture also decreased the percentage of oocytes with GVB. When oocytes were exposed to DEX for 48 h, the maturation rate was reduced. The degree of this reduction was dependent on DEX, and a concentration of DEX higher than 0.1 microg/ml was needed. The inhibitory effect of DEX on the maturation of oocytes was prevented by the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist RU-486. Exposure of oocytes to DEX for 40 h did not prevent sperm penetration, affect the incidence of polyspermy, or decrease the ability of oocytes to form a male pronucleus. The intracellular concentration of glutathione (GSH) in cumulus-enclosed oocytes was 4.4 mM per oocyte. Exposure of oocytes to DEX (0.01-10 microg/ml) had no effect on GSH concentration. These results demonstrate that glucocorticoids directly inhibit the meiotic but not cytoplasmic maturation of pig oocytes in vitro. This inhibitory effect is not mediated through a decrease in the level of intracellular GSH.
This article was published in Biol Reprod
and referenced in Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development