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PLoS One. 2015 Aug 27;10(8):e0136473. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136473. eCollection 2015.

Transcriptomic Analysis and Meta-Analysis of Human Granulosa and Cumulus Cells.

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Department of Human Reproduction, Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Slajmerjeva 2, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Department of Medical Genetics, Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University Medical Centre, Slajmerjeva 4, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Zaloska 4, Ljubljana, Slovenia.


Specific gene expression in oocytes and its surrounding cumulus (CC) and granulosa (GC) cells is needed for successful folliculogenesis and oocyte maturation. The aim of the present study was to compare genome-wide gene expression and biological functions of human GC and CC. Individual GC and CC were derived from 37 women undergoing IVF procedures. Gene expression analysis was performed using microarrays, followed by a meta-analysis. Results were validated using quantitative real-time PCR. There were 6029 differentially expressed genes (q < 10-4); of which 650 genes had a log2 FC ≥ 2. After the meta-analysis there were 3156 genes differentially expressed. Among these there were genes that have previously not been reported in human somatic follicular cells, like prokineticin 2 (PROK2), higher expressed in GC, and pregnancy up-regulated nonubiquitous CaM kinase (PNCK), higher expressed in CC. Pathways like inflammatory response and angiogenesis were enriched in GC, whereas in CC, cell differentiation and multicellular organismal development were among enriched pathways. In conclusion, transcriptomes of GC and CC as well as biological functions, are distinctive for each cell subpopulation. By describing novel genes like PROK2 and PNCK, expressed in GC and CC, we upgraded the existing data on human follicular biology.

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