Influence of epidermal growth factor supplementation during in vitro maturation on nuclear status and gene expression of canine oocytes.
ABSTRACT This study evaluated the effect of epidermal growth factor (EGF) supplementation during in vitro maturation on the meiotic status and the expression of EGF receptor (EGFr), luteinizing hormone receptor (LHr) and gap junction protein α 5 (GJA5) in canine cumulus-oocyte-complexes (COCs). COCs of ≥110 μm diameter, exhibiting dark pigmentation and completely surrounded by three or more layers of cumulus cells collected from anestrus stage ovaries in natural cycle were matured in TCM-199 supplemented with 10% fetal bovine serum, 0.57 mM cysteine, 10 μg/ml LH and FSH, and different concentrations of EGF (0, 10 and 30 ng/ml). Oocytes cultured for 72 h were fixed to assess the nuclear maturation. Expression of EGFr, LHr and GAJ5 was assessed by immunocytochemistry and real-time PCR. Proportion of metaphase II status of oocytes cultured in in vitro maturation (IVM) medium supplemented with 10 ng/ml EGF for 72 h was significantly (P<0.05) higher than 0 and 30 ng/ml EGF supplemented IVM medium (9.8% vs. 6.5% and 5.2%). In both cumulus cells and oocytes, EGFr protein was undetectable, LHr protein level of expression was low and a strong expression of GJA5 protein was observed. The relative abundance (RA) of EGFr transcript revealed low levels and the LHr expression decreased steadily with addition of EGF. However it did not vary among different concentrations of EGF supplementation. The RA of GJA5 transcript exhibited lower level at 10 ng/ml EGF supplementation. In conclusion, the supplementation of 10 ng/ml EGF in IVM media exerted a positive influence on the progression of maturation to MII phase and the expression level of GJA5 at 72 h, but did not demonstrate any stimulatory role on the expression of EGFr and LHr during the maturation of the canine IVM oocytes.