Author(s): Trounson A, Anderiesz C, Jones G
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Abstract Complete maturation of oocytes is essential for the developmental competence of embryos. Any interventions in the growth phase of the oocyte and the follicle in the ovary will affect oocyte maturation, fertilization and subsequent embryo development. Oocyte size is associated with maturation and embryo development in most species examined and this may indicate that a certain size is necessary to initiate the molecular cascade of normal nuclear and cytoplasmic maturation. The minimum size of follicle required for developmental competence in humans is 5-7 mm in diameter. Maturation in vitro can be accomplished in humans, but is associated with a loss of developmental competence unless the oocyte is near completion of its preovulatory growth phase. This loss of developmental competence is associated with the absence of specific proteins in oocytes cultured to metaphase II in vitro. The composition of culture medium used successfully for maturation of human oocytes is surprisingly similar to that originally developed for maturation of oocytes in follicle culture in vitro. The presence of follicle support cells in culture is necessary for the gonadotrophin-mediated response required to mature oocytes in vitro. Gonadotrophin concentration and the sequence of FSH and FSH-LH exposure may be important for human oocytes, particularly those not exposed to the gonadotrophin surge in vivo. More research is needed to describe the molecular and cellular events, the presence of checkpoints and the role of gene expression, translation and protein uptake on completing oocyte maturation in vitro and in vivo. In the meantime, there are very clear applications for maturing oocytes in human reproductive medicine and the success rates achieved in some of these special applications are clinically valuable.
This article was published in Reproduction
and referenced in Metabolomics:Open Access