We have previously shown that fatty acid oxidation (FAO) is required for AMP-activated protein kinase (PRKA)-induced maturation in vitro. In the present study, we have further investigated the role of this metabolic pathway in hormone-induced meiotic maturation. Incorporating an assay with 3H-palmitic acid as the substrate, we first examined the effect of PRKA activators on FAO levels. There was a significant stimulation of FAO in cumulus cell-enclosed oocytes (CEO) treated with 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleotide (AICAR) and RSVA405. In denuded oocytes (DO), AICAR stimulated FAO only in the presence of carnitine, the molecule that facilitates fatty acyl CoA entry into the mitochondria. The carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 activator C75 successfully stimulated FAO in CEO. All three of these activators trigger germinal vesicle breakdown. Meiotic resumption induced by follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) or amphiregulin was completely inhibited by the FAO inhibitors etomoxir, mercaptoacetate, and malonyl CoA. Importantly, FAO was increased in CEO stimulated by FSH and epidermal growth factor, and this increase was blocked by FAO inhibitors. Moreover, compound C, a PRKA inhibitor, prevented the FSH-induced increase in FAO. Both carnitine and palmitic acid augmented hormonal induction of maturation. In a more physiological setting, etomoxir eliminated human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)-induced maturation in follicle-enclosed oocytes. In addition, CEO and DO from hCG-treated mice displayed an etomoxir-sensitive increase in FAO, indicating that this pathway was stimulated during in vivo meiotic resumption. Taken together, our data indicate that hormone-induced maturation in mice requires a PRKA-dependent increase in FAO.
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Vol. 89 • No. 2