Estradiol promotes and maintains cumulus cell expression of natriuretic peptide receptor 2 (NPR2) and meiotic arrest in mouse oocytes in vitro

Meijia Zhang, You-Qiang Su, Koji Sugiura, Karen Wigglesworth, Guoliang Xia, John J Eppig
Endocrinology 2011, 152 (11): 4377-85
Natriuretic peptide type C (NPPC) and its cognate receptor natriuretic peptide receptor 2 (NPR2) are essential for maintaining meiotic arrest in mouse oocytes residing in Graafian follicles. Cumulus cells, which are associated with the oocyte, express the receptor NPR2, a guanylyl cyclase, whereas mural granulosa cells express ligand NPPC. This study determined the temporal expression of Npr2 and the hormonal factors that participate in regulating its expression and, thereby, in oocyte meiotic arrest. Stimulation of follicular development in vivo with equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG) promoted expression of Npr2 mRNA by cumulus cells and some periantral mural granulosa cells. However, FSH did not elevate the levels of Npr2 mRNA in cultured cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) isolated from mice not stimulated in vivo with eCG. Nevertheless, estradiol elevated expression of this transcript in vitro to the same steady-state level found in COCs isolated from eCG-stimulated follicles in vivo. Expression of Npr2 mRNA was rapidly reduced in COCs in vitro after isolation from eCG-primed mice unless maintained in culture with estradiol. The ability of NPPC to maintain meiotic arrest in cultured COCs was transient unless culture was in estradiol-containing medium. Ability of cumulus cells to produce cyclic GMP, which is required for the maintenance of meiotic arrest, was also lost in the absence of estradiol, indicating that estradiol is required to maintain functional NPR2 receptors on cumulus cells in vitro. It is concluded that estradiol promotes and maintains expression of NPR2 in cumulus cells and participates in NPPC-mediated maintenance of oocyte meiotic arrest in vitro.

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