Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

p. 150-158

Control of oocyte maturation

Landim-Alvarenga, F. C

Oocyte maturation is a complex process involving nuclear and cytoplasmic maturation. The nuclear maturation is a chromosomal segregation and the cytoplasmic maturation involves the reorganization of the cytoplasmic organelles, mRNA transcription and storage of proteins to be used during fertilization and early embryo development. The mechanism of oocyte maturation in vivo and in vitro still are not totally understood. However it is generally accepted that the second messenger cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) plays a critical role in the maintenance of meiotic blockage of mammalian oocytes. A relative increase in the level of cAMP within the oocyte is essential for maintaining meiosis block, while a decrease in cAMP oocyte concentration allows the resumption of meiosis. The oocyte cAMP concentration is regulated by a balance of two types of enzymes: adenylate cyclase (AC) and phosphodiesterases (PDEs), which are responsible for the synthesis and degradation of cAMP, respectively. After being synthesized by AC in cumulus cells, cAMP are transferred to the oocyte through gap junctions. Thus, specific subtypes PDEs are able to inhibit or attenuate the spontaneous meiotic maturation of oocytes with PDE4 primarily involved in the metabolism of cAMP in granulosa cells and PDE3 in the oocyte. Although the immature oocytes can resume meiosis in vitro, after being removed from antral follicles, cytoplasmic maturation seems to occur asynchronously with nuclear maturation. Therefore, knowledge of the oocyte maturation process is fundamental for the development of methodologies to increase the success of in vitro embryo production and to develop treatments for various forms of infertility. This review will present current knowledge about the maintenance of the oocyte in prophase arrest, and the resumption of meiosis during oocyte maturation, focusing mainly on the changes that take place in the oocyte. (AU)

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