Follicular guidance for oocyte developmental competence
The advancement of folliculogenesis is coincident with the sequential acquisition of oocyte developmental competence. In practical bovine/porcine ART, cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) aspirated from small antral follicles have low developmental competence relative to COCs from medium/large antral follicles, as evidenced by a poor capacity to support embryogenesis up to the blastocyst stage. This is in part because of incomplete differentiation of cumulus cells in small antral follicles, in particular under-developed functionality of EGF signalling. Gonadotrophins and oocyte-secreted paracrine factors cooperate to establish EGF receptor functionality in cumulus cells, which appears to be involved in the acquisition of oocyte developmental competence. Here we review the modification of follicular cumulus cells during antral folliculogenesis involved in oocyte developmental competence.
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