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Endocrinology. 2007 Dec;148(12):6164-75. Epub 2007 Sep 27.

Hormone-induced expression of tumor necrosis factor alpha-converting enzyme/A disintegrin and metalloprotease-17 impacts porcine cumulus cell oocyte complex expansion and meiotic maturation via ligand activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor.

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Department of Applied Animal Science, Graduate School of Biosphere Science, Hiroshima University, 1-4-4 Kagamiyama, Higashi-Hiroshima, Japan.


The epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like growth factors, amphiregulin (AREG) and epiregulin (EREG), are expressed in murine cumulus oocyte complexes (COCs) where they impact the function of cumulus cells and oocyte maturation during LH-mediated ovulation. Because TNFalpha-converting enzyme (TACE)/a disintegrin and metalloprotease-17 (ADAM17) is essential for ectodomain shedding of AREG and EREG from the surface of other cell types, the expression and function of TACE/ADAM17 was analyzed in a porcine COC culture system in which FSH- and LH-mediated expansion and oocyte meiotic maturation have been well characterized and shown to occur between 20 and 40 h. In this model, Areg, Ereg, and Tace/Adam17 mRNAs increased significantly with maximal levels observed between 5 and 20 h of culture with FSH plus LH. TACE/ADAM17 protein and protease activity were up-regulated markedly at 10 h and maintained to 40 h. Treatment of COCs with the TACE/ADAM17-selective inhibitor TNFalpha-processing inhibitor-2 (TAPI-2) significantly suppressed in a time-dependent manner downstream targets of EGF receptor activation such as ERK1/2 phosphorylation, Ptgs2, Has2, and Tnfaip6 mRNA expression, hormone-induced COC expansion, and meiotic maturation of the oocytes. Addition of EGF to COCs cultured in the presence of FSH/LH reversed the inhibitory effects of TAPI-2 on these ovulation-related processes. Gonadotropin-induced phosphorylation of ERK1/2 was also inhibited in rat granulosa cells treated with TAPI-2 or after transfection with Tace/Adam17 small interfering RNA. Induced expression of Tnfaip6 mRNA was also reduced by Tace/Adam17 small interfering RNA. Thus, TACE/ADAM17 is induced and the activity is involved in porcine COC expansion as well as oocyte meiotic maturation through the activation of EGF receptor in cumulus cells.

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