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Oocyte-somatic cell-endocrine interactions in pigs

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Sandra Edwards


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Oocyte-somatic cell communication is bi-directional and essential for both oocyte and follicular granulosa and theca cell function and development. We have shown that the oocyte secretes factors that stimulate porcine granulosa cell proliferation in serum-free culture, and suppress progesterone production, thereby preventing premature luteinisation. Possible candidates for mediating some of these effects are the bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) that belong to the transforming growth factor β family. They are emerging as a family of proteins critical for fertility and ovulation rate in several mammals, and they are expressed in various cell types in the ovary. We have evidence for a functional BMP system in the porcine ovary and BMP receptors are present in the egg nests in the fetal ovary and in the granulosa cells, oocytes and occasional theca cells throughout subsequent development. In addition to paracrine interactions in the ovary, the porcine oocyte and its developmental potential can also be influenced by nutritional manipulation in vivo. We have demonstrated that feeding a high plane of nutrition to gilts for 19 days prior to ovulation increased oocyte quality compared to control animals fed a maintenance diet, as determined by oocyte maturation in vitro. This was associated with a number of changes in circulating reproductive and metabolic hormones and also in the follicular fluid in which the oocyte is nurtured. Further studies showed a similar increase in prenatal survival on Day 30 of gestation, demonstrating a direct link between oocyte quality/maturation and embryo survival. Collectively, these studies emphasise the importance of the interactions that occur between the oocyte and somatic cells and also with endocrine hormones for ovarian development, and ultimately for the production of oocytes with optimal developmental potential. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hunter MG, Brankin V, Quinn RL, Ferguson EM, Edwards SA, Ashworth CJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Domestic Animal Endocrinology

Year: 2005

Volume: 29

Issue: 2

Pages: 371-384

ISSN (print): 0739-7240

ISSN (electronic): 1879-0054

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.domaniend.2005.02.004

PubMed id: 15950429


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