Natriuretic peptide precursor C delays meiotic resumption and sustains gap junction-mediated communication in bovine cumulus-enclosed oocytes

Federica Franciosi, Giovanni Coticchio, Valentina Lodde, Irene Tessaro, Silvia C Modina, Rubens Fadini, Mariabeatrice Dal Canto, Mario Mignini Renzini, David F Albertini, Alberto M Luciano
Biology of Reproduction 2014, 91 (3): 61
Oocyte in vitro maturation (IVM) has become a valuable technological tool for animal breeding and cloning and the treatment of human infertility because it does not require the administration of exogenous gonadotropin to obtain fertilizable oocytes. However, embryo development after IVM is lower compared to in vivo maturation, most likely because oocytes collected for IVM are heterogeneous with respect to their developmental competencies. Attempts to improve IVM outcome have relied upon either prematuration culture (PMC) or two-step maturation strategies in the hope of normalizing variations in developmental competence. Such culture systems invoke the pharmacological arrest of meiosis, in theory providing oocytes sufficient time to complete the acquisition of developmental competence after cumulus-enclosed oocytes isolation from the follicle. The present study was designed to test the efficiency of natriuretic peptide precursor C (NPPC) as a nonpharmacologic meiosis-arresting agent during IVM in a monoovulatory species. NPPC has been shown to maintain meiotic arrest in vivo and in vitro in mice and pigs; however, the use of this molecule for PMC has yet to have been explored. Toward this end, meiotic cell cycle reentry, gap-junction functionality, and chromatin configuration changes were investigated in bovine cumulus-enclosed oocytes cultured in the presence of NPPC. Moreover, oocyte developmental competence was investigated after IVM, in vitro fertilization, and embryo culture and compared to standard IVM-in vitro fertilization protocol without PMC. Our results suggest that NPPC can be used to delay meiotic resumption and increase the developmental competence of bovine oocytes when used in PMC protocols.

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