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Polyspermy or the penetration of more than one sperm cell remains a problem during porcine in vitro fertilization (IVF). After in vitro culture of porcine zygotes, only a low percentage of blastocysts develop and their quality is inferior to that of in vivo derived blastocysts. It is unknown whether the cytoplasmic maturation of the oocyte is sufficiently sustained in current in vitro maturation (IVM) procedures. The complex interplay between oocyte and cumulus cells during IVM is a key factor in this process. By focusing on this bidirectional communication, it is possible to control the coordination of cumulus expansion, and nuclear and cytoplasmic maturation during IVM to some extent. Therefore, this review focuses on the regulatory mechanisms between oocytes and cumulus cells to further the development of new in vitro embryo production (IVP) procedures, resulting in less polyspermy and improved oocyte developmental potential. Specifically, we focused on the involvement of cAMP in maturation regulation and function of oocyte-secreted factors (OSFs) in the bidirectional regulatory loop between oocyte and cumulus cells. Our studies suggest that maintaining high cAMP levels in the oocyte during the first half of IVM sustained improved oocyte maturation, resulting in an enhanced response after IVF and cumulus matrix disassembly. Recent research indicated that the addition of OSFs during IVM enhanced the developmental competence of small follicle-derived oocytes, which was stimulated by epidermal growth factor (EGF) via developing EGF-receptor signaling.

Original publication




Journal article


J Reprod Dev

Publication Date





439 - 449


Animals, Cell Adhesion, Coculture Techniques, Cumulus Cells, Cyclic AMP, Epidermal Growth Factor, Female, Fertilization in Vitro, Male, Oocytes, Signal Transduction, Spermatozoa, Swine