Establishing an ideal human follicle culture system for oncofertility patients relies mainly on animal models since donor tissue is scarce and often of suboptimal quality. The in vitro system developed in our laboratory supports the growth of prepubertal mouse secondary follicles up to mature oocytes. Given the importance of glucose in preparing the oocyte for proper maturation, a baseline characterization of follicle metabolism both in the culture system and in vivo was carried out. Markers of glucose-related pathways (glycolysis, tricarboxylic acid [TCA] cycle, pentose phosphate pathway [PPP], polyol pathway, and hexosamine biosynthetic pathway), as well as the antioxidant capacity, were measured in the different follicle cell types by both enzymatic activities (spectrophotometric detection) and gene expression (qPCR). This study confirmed that in vivo the somatic cells, mainly granulosa, exhibit intense glycolytic activity, while oocytes perform PPP. Throughout the final maturation step, oocytes in vivo and in vitro showed steady levels for all the key enzymes and metabolites. On the other hand, ovulation triggers a boost of pyruvate and lactate uptake in cumulus cells in vivo, consumes reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate, and increases TCA cycle and small molecules antioxidant capacity activities, while in vitro, the metabolic upregulation in all the studied pathways is limited. This altered metabolic pattern might be a consequence of cell exhaustion because of culture conditions, impeding cumulus cells to fulfill their role in providing proper support for acquiring oocyte competence.
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- carbohydrate metabolism
- matured mouse antral follicles
- in vivo
- in vitro