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PLoS One. 2014 Apr 2;9(4):e93446. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0093446. eCollection 2014.

Role of Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCX) in modulating postovulatory aging of mouse and rat oocytes.

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College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai-an City, P. R. China.


We studied the role of the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCX) in modulating oocyte postovulatory aging by observing changes in NCX contents and activities in aging mouse and rat oocytes. Whereas the NCX activity was measured by observing oocyte activation following culture with NCX inhibitor or activator, the NCX contents were determined by immunohistochemical quantification. Although NCX was active in freshly-ovulated rat oocytes recovered 13 h post hCG injection and in aged oocytes recovered 19 h post hCG in both species, it was not active in freshly-ovulated mouse oocytes. However, NCX became active when the freshly-ovulated mouse oocytes were activated with ethanol before culture. Measurement of cytoplasmic Ca2+ revealed Ca2+ increases always before NCX activation. Whereas levels of the reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the activation susceptibility increased, the density of NCX member 1 (NCX1) decreased significantly with oocyte aging in both species. While culture with H2O2 decreased the density of NCX1 significantly, culture with NaCl supplementation sustained the NCX1 density in mouse oocytes. It was concluded that (a) the NCX activity was involved in the modulation of oocyte aging and spontaneous activation; (b) ROS and Na+ regulated the NCX activity in aging oocytes by altering its density as well as functioning; and (c) cytoplasmic Ca2+ elevation was essential for NCX activation in the oocyte.

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