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J Proteome Res. 2008 Jan;7(1):443-9. Epub 2007 Nov 30.

Proteomic analysis of human follicular fluid using an alternative bottom-up approach.

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Department of Physical and Analytical Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.


Human follicular fluid (hFF) is the in vivo environment of oocytes during follicular maturation in the ovaries. It contains a huge variety of compounds such as, e.g., proteins that might play an important role in follicular development and oocyte growth. Previous proteomic studies on follicular fluid have isolated and already identified a certain number of proteins. Nevertheless, only a small part of proteins present in follicular fluid have been covered so far and a large number have still not been identified. Therefore, the need for new, more resolving, and sensitive approaches in proteome research is evident. We utilized a proteomic setup based on in solution isoelectric focusing (IEF) and reversed-phase nanoliquid chromatography coupled to matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry (nano-LC MALDI TOF/TOF MS) for in depth protein analysis of human follicular fluid samples of patients undergoing controlled ovarian hyper stimulation (COH) for in vitro fertilization therapy (IVF). This approach led to the significant identification of 69 proteins, where 32 have not been reported before to be found in human follicular fluid with proteomic methods. Among these findings, at least two relevant compounds essentially involved in hormone secretion regulation during the folliculogenetic process were identified: sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and inhibin A (INHA). To confirm these results, both proteins were further validated by immunoassays.

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