Well balanced and timed metabolism is essential for oocyte development. The effects of extrinsic nutrients on oocyte maturation have been widely reported. In contrast, intrinsic control of oogenesis by intracellular metabolites and metabolic enzymes has received little attention. The comprehensive characterization of metabolic patterns could lead to more complete understanding of regulatory mechanisms underlying oocyte development. A cell's metabolic state is integrated with epigenetic regulation. Epigenetic modifications in germ cells are therefore sensitive to parental environmental exposures. Nevertheless, direct genetic evidence for metabolites involvement in epigenetic establishment during oocyte development is still lacking. Moreover, metabolic disorder-induced epigenetic perturbations during oogenesis might mediate the inter/transgenerational effects of environmental insults. The molecular mechanisms responsible for this deserve further investigation. Here, we summarize the findings on metabolic regulation in oocyte maturation, and how it contributes to oocyte epigenetic modification. Finally, we propose a mouse model that metabolic disorder in oocyte serves as a potential factor mediating the maternal environment effects on offspring health.
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Vol. 107 • No. 1