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Hum Reprod. 2006 Nov;21(11):2960-8. Epub 2006 Aug 7.

Peptide and protein profiles in serum and follicular fluid of women undergoing IVF.

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  • 1Institute of Nutritional Science, University of Potsdam, Potsdam-Rehbr├╝cke, Germany. schweigert@nutriproteomics.de



Proteins and peptides in human follicular fluid originate from plasma or are produced by follicular structures. Compositional changes reflect oocyte maturation and can be used as diagnostic markers. The aim of the study was to determine protein and peptide profiles in paired serum and follicular fluid samples from women undergoing IVF.


Surface-enhanced laser desorption and ionization-time of flight-mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF-MS) was used to obtain characteristic protein pattern.


One hundred and eighty-six individual MS signals were obtained from a combination of enrichment on strong anion exchanger (110), weak cation exchanger (52) and normal phase surfaces (24). On the basis of molecular masses, isoelectric points and immunoreactivety, four signals were identified as haptoglobin (alpha(1)- and alpha(2)-chain), haptoglobin 1 and transthyretin (TTR). Immunological and MS characteristics of the TTR : retinol-binding protein (RBP) transport complex revealed no microheterogeneity differences between serum and follicular fluid. Discriminatory patterns arising from decision-tree-based classification and regression analysis distinguished between serum and follicular fluid with a sensitivity and specificity of 100%.


Quantitative and qualitative differences indicate selective transport processes rather than mere filtration across the blood-follicle barrier. Identified proteins as well as characteristic peptide and/or protein signatures might emerge as potential candidates for diagnostic markers of follicle and/or oocyte maturation and thus oocyte quality.

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