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Aging (Albany NY). 2018 Dec 16;10(12):4093-4106. doi: 10.18632/aging.101699.

Putrescine delays postovulatory aging of mouse oocytes by upregulating PDK4 expression and improving mitochondrial activity.

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Reproductive Medicine Center, First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Jiangsu Sheng, China.
State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Clinical Center of Reproductive Medicine, First Affiliated Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China.


If fertilization does not occur for a prolonged period in vivo or in vitro, the postovulatory oocytes will deteriorate, which called the postovulatory aging. This process disrupts the developmental competence. In the present study, we showed that the reactive oxygen species (ROS) was accumulated in oocytes during the postovulatory aging. ROS inhibited Sirt1 expression, and then increased oxidative stress by downregulating the intracellular Sirt1-FOXO3a-SOD2 axis. Moreover, the inhibited Sirt1 expression was related to the decreased mitochondrial function and the lowered level of autophagy. The mitochondrial-related apoptosis was increased by inhibiting the AKT and ERK1/2 pathways, due to the accumulation of ROS in the postovulatory oocytes. The mitochondrial pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase-4 (PDK4) can reduce ROS by inhibiting the tricarboxylic acid (TAC) cycle. We found that PDK4 was significantly decreased in the postovulatory aging oocytes. Putrescine, one of the abundant biogenic amines, ameliorated the effects of ROS and therefore improved the quality of the postovulatory aging oocytes by increasing the expression of PDK4. When PDK4 was downregulated using siRNAs, the effects of putrescine were significantly receded. We concluded that putrescine delayed the aging process of postovulatory oocytes by upregulating PDK4 expression and improving mitochondrial activity.


PDK4; mitochondria; oocyte; postovulatory aging; reactive oxygen species

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