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Progesterone is produced from cholesterol in cumulus cells during meiotic resumption of porcine oocytes. In follicular cells, it has been shown that exogenous lipoprotein-bound cholesterol ester can be used for steroid hormone production. However, in serum-free medium, progesterone is also secreted by FSH- and LH-stimulated cumulus-oocyte complexes, suggesting that progesterone could be produced from de novo synthesized cholesterol in cumulus cells. In the present study, we investigated the expression of Delta14-reductase and Delta7-reductase, which are the members of the superfamily that converts acetyl-CoA to cholesterol in cumulus cells. The expression of both genes was analyzed by RT-PCR. Both Delta14-reductase mRNA and Delta7-reductase mRNA in cumulus cells, cultured until 4 h, were under the level of detection limit. In response to gonadotropins, both mRNA levels were dramatically up-regulated, reaching a maximum at 20 h. To clarify the role of induced enzymes in cumulus cells, cumulus-oocyte complexes were cultured with either Delta14-reductase inhibitor, AY9944-A-7, or Delta7-reductase inhibitor, BM15.766. The results indicated that these inhibitors significantly suppressed the progesterone production in cumulus cells and meiotic progression of oocytes. The inhibitory effects reached a maximum at 1 microM AY9944-A-7 or 20 microM BM15.766. The addition of 20 ng/ml progesterone overcame the inhibitory effects of both drugs on meiotic resumption of oocytes. These results imply that gonadotropin-induced expression and function of Delta14-reductase and Delta7-reductase in cumulus cells contribute to oocyte meiotic resumption via a progesterone-dependent pathway.


Yasuhisa Yamashita, Masahide Nishibori, Takato Terada, Naoki Isobe, Masayuki Shimada. Gonadotropin-induced delta14-reductase and delta7-reductase gene expression in cumulus cells during meiotic resumption of porcine oocytes. Endocrinology. 2005 Jan;146(1):186-94

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PMID: 15459117

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