Impact of linoleic acid on bovine oocyte maturation and embryo development

Waleed F Marei, D Claire Wathes, Ali A Fouladi-Nashta
Reproduction 2010, 139 (6): 979-88
Linoleic acid (LA; 18:2 n-6) is the most abundant fatty acid in bovine follicular fluid, and it was previously reported that LA concentration significantly decreases when follicle size increases. This suggests that LA may have a role in the regulation of oocyte maturation. The present study investigated the effect of LA supplementation on bovine oocyte maturation and early embryo development in vitro. Treatment of cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) with LA significantly inhibited cumulus cell expansion and retarded development of the oocytes to the metaphase II (MII) stage in a dose-dependent manner. This effect was reversible, and the oocytes developed to the MII stage after extended culture in the absence of LA. Treatment of COCs with LA also resulted in a significantly lower percentage of cleaved embryos and blastocyst yield. Furthermore, COCs treated with LA had significant effects compared with controls in i) increasing prostaglandin E(2) concentration in the medium, ii) decreasing intracellular cAMP at 6 and 24 h of maturation and iii) decreasing phosphorylation of the MAPK1 and 3 at 24 h, and AKT at 6 h of maturation. In conclusion, LA supplementation to bovine oocytes during maturation altered the molecular mechanisms regulating oocyte maturation and resulted in decreased percentage of oocytes at MII stage and inhibition of the subsequent early embryo development. These data provide evidence for adverse effects of LA on oocyte development, which can be associated with dietary increased level of LA in the follicular fluid and the decline in fertility in farm animals and human.

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