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Reprod Fertil Dev. 2014 Aug;26(7):974-81. doi: 10.1071/RD13106.

Induction of autophagy during in vitro maturation improves the nuclear and cytoplasmic maturation of porcine oocytes.

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National Primate Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Chungcheongbuk-do 363-883, Republic of Korea.


While a critical role of autophagy in mammalian early embryogenesis has been demonstrated, few studies have been conducted regarding the role of autophagy in in vitro maturation (IVM) of immature oocytes. In the present study we investigated the effect of rapamycin, a chemical autophagy inducer, on the nuclear and cytoplasmic maturation of porcine oocytes. Rapamycin treatment led to increased expression of LC3-II, an autophagy marker. Compared with the control group, as well as the 5 and 10nM rapamycin treatment groups, the rate of MII oocyte production was higher in the 1nM rapamycin treatment group, indicating improvement in nuclear maturation. In the analyses of cytoplasmic maturation, we found that the level of p34(cdc2), a cytoplasmic maturation marker, and the monospermic fertilisation rate were higher in the 1nM rapamycin treatment group than in the other groups. Moreover, the beneficial effect of 1nM rapamycin on cytoplasmic maturation of MII oocytes was further evidenced by increases in blastocyst formation rate, total cell number and cell survival. In the blastocyst embryos, anti-apoptotic Bcl-xL transcript levels were elevated in the 1nM rapamycin-treated group, whereas pro-apoptotic Bax transcript levels were decreased. Collectively, these results suggest that induction of autophagy during IVM contributes to enhancement of the nuclear and cytoplasmic maturation of porcine oocytes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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