To investigate the regulation of lipid uptake into the eel oocyte in more detail, effects of 11-ketotestosterone (11-KT) and lipid transporters (lipoproteins) were determined in vitro. Ovarian explants from previtellogenic Japanese eels (Anguilla japonica) were incubated for 28 days with 11-KT and/or with very low density lipoproteins (Vldl), low density lipoproteins (Ldl), or high density lipoproteins (Hdl) purified from eel plasma. The androgen 11-KT induced notable increases in oocyte diameter, which were accompanied by the appearance of vacuoles rather than lipid. Ldl and Hdl increased oocyte diameters, whereas Vldl did not. However, coincubation of 11-KT and Vldl, but not of Ldl or Hdl, resulted in dramatic increases in oocyte size and lipid droplet surface area. Effects of both 11-KT (oocyte size) and Vldl (lipid droplet surface area) were dose-dependent between 1 and 100 ng/ml and between 0.5 and 5 mg/ml, respectively. Interestingly, abnormal oocyte cytology under conditions of coculture with 11-KT and Vldl could essentially be prevented if Vldl concentrations were high enough (≥ 5 mg Vldl/ml medium). Unlike 11-KT, estradiol-17beta had no effect on oocyte diameter or lipid droplet surface area. We conclude that Vldl is a key transporter of neutral lipids that accumulate into the eel oocyte during oogenesis and that Vldl-dependent lipid uptake is stimulated by the androgen 11-KT.
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Vol. 84 • No. 4