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J Reprod Dev. 2010 Feb;56(1):15-9.

Induction of oocyte maturation by hyaluronan-CD44 interaction in pigs.

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Laboratory of Animal Reproduction, Faculty of Bioresource Sciences, Akita Prefectural University, Japan.


In most mammals, the oocyte is surrounded with compact multilayers of cumulus cells; these form cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs). During oocyte maturation, the COCs dramatically expand and this is termed "cumulus expansion". We have previously demonstrated that cumulus expansion is the result of hyaluronan synthesis and accumulation in the extracellular space between cumulus cells in the COCs and that hyaluronan accumulation within the COCs affects oocyte maturation. We have also demonstrated that CD44, the principal hyaluronan receptor, is expressed in the COCs during cumulus expansion and that the interaction between hyaluronan and CD44 appears to be closely related to gap junctional communication of the COCs during the process of meiotic resumption. Based on our previous studies, we review herein that the physiological significance and the molecular mechanism of cumulus expansion for porcine oocyte maturation.

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