Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology


K. Uhde A , L. T. A. van Tol A , T. A. E. Stout A and B. A. J. Roelen A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

Department of Farm Animal Health, Utrecht University, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 27(1) 133-133
Published: 4 December 2014


A mammalian oocyte within an ovarian follicle is surrounded by cumulus cells, together this structure is known as the cumulus-oocyte complex (COC). Cumulus cells are important for the development of the oocyte, they support the maturation process of the oocyte within the ovary and aid in sperm recognition. Because it is known that a Dicer knockout leads to infertility, microRNAs (miRNA) are focused to have an important role in oocyte development. MiRNAs are small noncoding RNA sequences that act as transcriptional regulators. Little is known about the expression of miRNA in cumulus cells or how cumulus-derived miRNA may regulate or be used to indicate the developmental competence of the maturing oocyte. Our aim was to investigate miRNA expression in oocytes and to identify and establish how specific miRNA influence the acquisition of developmental competence by bovine oocytes. Normalization of qPCR data requires stable reference genes. To this end, we tested the expression of various miRNA with respect to their ability to be used as reference miRNA for bovine cumulus cells; these included miR-103, miR-93, miR-26, let-7a, miR-191, and the small noncoding nuclear RNA U6. Cumulus-oocyte complexes were recovered from the ovaries of slaughtered cows and matured in vitro. Small samples of cumulus cells were collected from these COC before and after maturation. From the cumulus cell groups recovered at different stages, small RNA were extracted and cDNA was synthesised, followed by qRT-PCR. To identify the optimal combination of reference genes, the geNorm algorithm was used. MiR-26a and let-7a were identified as the most stably expressed miRNAs, whereas U6 showed the most variable expression levels. Future investigations are planned to identify miRNA in cumulus cells that can be used as markers for oocyte developmental competence. Using a single oocyte-embryo culture system will enable us to retrospectively relate cumulus miRNA expression to the developmental capacity of the oocyte.

This work was supported by EU FP7 EpiHealthNet (N°317146).

Full Text Export Citation

View Altmetrics