Oocyte in vitro maturation (IVM) is an important assisted reproductive technology and research tool. The adoption of IVM into routine clinical practice has been hindered by its significantly lower success rates compared to conventional in vitro fertilization. Cyclic AMP (cAMP) modulation and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), independently, have long been known to improve IVM oocyte developmental competence. This study comprehensively examined the effects of FSH and cAMP/cGMP modulation, alone and in combination, on IVM oocyte metabolism and developmental outcomes. Mouse cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) were subjected to a 1 h prematuration phase ± the cAMP modulator forskolin and cAMP/cGMP modulator 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine followed by IVM ± FSH. Prematuration with these cyclic nucleotide modulators or IVM with FSH significantly improved oocyte developmental competence and reduced spindle abnormalities compared to spontaneous IVM (no treatment); however, these two treatments in combination endowed even greater developmental competence (improved subsequent blastocyst rates and quality; P < 0.05), albeit blastocyst yield and quality remained significantly lower than that of oocytes matured in vivo. A significant additive effect of combined IVM treatments was evident as increased COC lactate production and oxygen consumption and enhanced oocyte oxidative metabolism, ATP production, ATP:ADP ratio, and glutathione levels (P < 0.05). Nevertheless, IVM increased reactive oxygen species production, particularly as a consequence of FSH addition, relative to in vivo matured oocytes. In conclusion, improvements in the embryo yield following IVM is associated with increased COC oxygen consumption and oocyte oxidative metabolism, but these remain metabolically and developmentally less competent relative to in vivo derived oocytes.
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Vol. 91 • No. 2