Immunohistochemical localization of inhibin/activin alpha, beta(A) and beta(B) subunits and follistatin in bovine oocytes during in vitro maturation and fertilization
Silva, C. C., Groome, N. P. and Knight, P. G. (2003) Immunohistochemical localization of inhibin/activin alpha, beta(A) and beta(B) subunits and follistatin in bovine oocytes during in vitro maturation and fertilization. Reproduction, 125 (1). pp. 33-42. ISSN 1470-1626
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1530/rep.0.1250033
The aim of this study was to evaluate the distribution of inhibin/activin alpha, beta(A) and beta(B) subunits and follistatin in immature oocytes and in matured oocytes before and after IVF. Denuded oocytes were submitted to a whole-mount immunofluorescence procedure. Specimens were imaged and fluorescent intensities quantified by scanning laser confocal microscopy. Immunoreactivity for inhibin alpha subunit (both alpha(C) and pro-alpha. regions), abundant in the ooplasm of immature oocytes, decreased after maturation (a 68% and 88% decrease, respectively; P < 0.001), but increased after IVF by 2- and 5.7-fold, respectively (P < 0.01). Intense staining for PA was detected in immature oocytes (predominantly in the outer ooplasm and zona pellucida) but after maturation and fertilization it was localized mainly in the zona pellucida, perivitelline space and oolemma. Immunoreactivity for RA in the ooplasm decreased by 58% after maturation (P < 0.001) but increased again by 75% after fertilization (P < 0.01). Immunoreactivity for beta(B) was localized mainly in the zona pellucida and did not change after maturation. However, immurloreactivity for beta(B) was not detected in the zona pellucida after fertilization, but remained unchanged in unfertilized oocytes. Immunoreactivity for follistatin was detected in the ooplasm and zona pellucida of immature oocytes but decreased progressively in the ooplasm after maturation (a 63% decrease; P < 0.001) and did not change after IVF. Examination of partially denuded cumulus-oocyte complexes confirmed abundant expression of alpha(C), pro-alpha, beta(A) and follistatin immunoreactivity in cumulus cells, whereas beta(B) subunit staining was weak or absent in cumulus cells, but intense in the zona pellucida. In conclusion, the present study shows that qualitative and quantitative changes in the distribution of inhibin/activin subunits and follistatin accompany oocyte maturation and fertilization. The possibility, indicated by these observations, that activin A and activin B may play distinct roles in bovine oocyte maturation and fertilization warrants further study.