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FSH and LH receptors are differentially expressed in cumulus cells surrounding developmentally competent and incompetent mouse fully grown antral oocytes

Giulia Vigone A F , Valeria Merico A F , Carlo Alberto Redi A B , Giuliano Mazzini C , Silvia Garagna A D G and Maurizio Zuccotti E G

A Laboratorio di Biologia dello Sviluppo, Dipartimento di Biologia e Biotecnologie ‘Lazzaro Spallanzani’, Università degli Studi di Pavia, Via Ferrata 9, 27100 Pavia, Italy.
B Centro Ricerche di Medicina Rigenerativa, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Viale Camillo Golgi 19, 27100 Pavia, Italy.
C Istituto di Genetica Molecolare–Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Via Ferrata 9, 27100 Pavia, Italy.
D Centro di Ingegneria Tissutale, Dipartimento di Informatica e Sistemistica, Università degli Studi di Pavia, Via Ferrata 1, 27100 Pavia, Italy.
E Sezione di Anatomia, Istologia ed Embriologia, Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche, Biotecnologiche e Traslazionali, Università degli Studi di Parma, Via Gramsci 14, 43126 Parma, Italy.
F These authors have equally contributed to this paper.
G Corresponding authors. Emails: maurizio.zuccotti@unipr.it; silvia.garagna@unipv.it

Reproduction, Fertility and Development - http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/RD13251
Submitted: 5 August 2013  Accepted: 18 December 2013   Published online: 30 January 2014


 
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Abstract

Cumulus cells (CCs) maintain strict functional relationships with the enclosed antral oocyte and are thought to reflect its developmental competence. Several studies have described a correlation between CC gene expression and oocyte quality. Herein, we tested whether CC-specific FSH and LH receptors (FSHR and LHR, respectively) are differentially expressed in CCs enclosing developmentally competent or incompetent oocytes. To this end, mouse fully grown cumulus–oocyte complexes were isolated and their CCs and oocytes analysed separately. Based on their chromatin organisation, oocytes were classified as those with a surrounded nucleolus (SN) or a non-surrounded nucleolus (NSN), the former being developmentally competent, whereas the latter arrest at the 2-cell stage. The CCs were then analysed to compare the pattern of expression of the Fshr and Lhr genes and their proteins. Quantitative reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed that only Lhr is significantly differentially expressed. Immunofluorescence analysis revealed that both FSHR and LHR proteins are significantly upregulated in CCs surrounding oocytes arrested at the 2-cell stage, reflecting their developmental incompetence.

Additional keywords: cumulus–oocyte complex, gonadotropin receptors, oocyte quality.


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