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Reproduction. 2012 Nov;144(5):557-67. doi: 10.1530/REP-12-0267. Epub 2012 Sep 11.

Effects of species differences on oocyte regulation of granulosa cell function.

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School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington 6140, New Zealand.

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  • Reproduction. 2013 Jan;145(1):X1.


The aims were to investigate whether oocyte-secreted growth factors from a high (i.e. rat) and low (i.e. sheep) ovulation rate species could stimulate (3)H-thymidine incorporation in granulosa cells (GC) from antral follicles from the same or across species. Denuded oocytes (DO) were co-incubated with GC with or without specific antibodies to growth differentiating factor 9 (GDF9) or bone morphogenetic protein 15 (BMP15). Co-incubations of DO-GC from the same or across species significantly increased thymidine incorporation in GC with increasing numbers of DO. GDF9 immuno-neutralisation reduced thymidine incorporation in rat GC co-incubated with either rat or ovine DO and in ovine GC co-incubated with ovine or rat DO. BMP15 immuno-neutralisation only reduced thymidine incorporation when ovine DO were co-incubated with either ovine or rat GC. Western blotting of oocytes co-incubated with GC identified GDF9 and BMP15 proteins for sheep and GDF9 protein for rats in oocyte lysates and incubation media. With respect to rat BMP15, a promature protein was identified in the oocyte lysate but not in media. Expression levels of GDF9 relative to BMP15 mRNA in DO co-incubated with GC were highly correlated (R (2)=0.99) within both species. However, the expression ratios were markedly different for the rat and sheep (4.3 vs 1.0 respectively). We conclude that during follicular development, rat oocytes secrete little, if any, BMP15 and that GDF9 without BMP15 can stimulate proliferation of rat and ovine GC. In contrast, ovine oocytes secrete both BMP15 and GDF9, and both were found to stimulate proliferation in ovine and rat GC.

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