2018 Volume 64 Issue 3 Pages 233-241
The administration of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) prior to oocyte retrieval improves oocyte developmental competence. During bovine embryo production in vitro, however, oocytes are typically derived from FSH-unprimed animals. In the current study, we examined the effect of pre-in vitro maturation (IVM) with cAMP modulators, also known as the second messengers of FSH, on the developmental competence of oocytes derived from small antral follicles (2–4 mm) of FSH-unprimed animals. Pre-IVM with N6,2ʹ-O-dibutyryladenosine 3′,5′-cyclicmonophosphate (dbcAMP) and 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (IBMX) for 2 h improved the blastocyst formation in oocytes stimulated by FSH or amphiregulin (AREG). Furthermore, pre-IVM enhanced the expression of the FSH- or AREG-stimulated extracellular matrix-related genes HAS2, TNFAIP6, and PTGS2, and epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like peptide-related genes AREG and EREG. Additionally, pre-IVM with dbcAMP and IBMX enhanced the expression of EGFR, and also increased and prolonged cumulus cell-oocyte gap junctional communication. The improved oocyte development observed using the pre-IVM protocol was ablated by an EGF receptor phosphorylation inhibitor. These results indicate that pre-IVM with cAMP modulators could contribute to the acquisition of developmental competence by bovine oocytes from small antral follicles through the modulation of EGF receptor signaling and oocyte-cumulus/cumulus-cumulus gap junctional communication.