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.
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