Differential gene expression in cumulus cells as a prognostic indicator of embryo viability: a microarray analysis

A.P. van Montfoort*, J.P. Geraedts, J.C. Dumoulin, A.P. Stassen, J.L. Evers, T.A. Ayoubi

*Corresponding author for this work

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Besides the established selection criteria based on embryo morphology and blastomere number, new parameters for embryo viability are needed to improve the clinical outcome of IVF and more particular of elective single-embryo transfer. Genome-wide gene expression in cumulus cells was studied, since these cells surround the oocyte inside the follicle and therefore possibly reflect oocyte developmental potential. Early cleavage (EC) was chosen as a parameter for embryo viability. Gene expression in cumulus cells from eight oocytes resulting in an EC embryo (EC-CC; n = 8) and from eight oocytes resulting in a non-EC (NEC) embryo (NEC-CC; n = 8) was analysed using microarrays (n = 16). A total of 611 genes were differentially expressed (P < 0.01), mainly involved in cell cycle, angiogenesis, apoptosis, epidermal growth factor, fibroblast growth factor and platelet-derived growth factor signalling, general vesicle transport and chemokine and cytokine signalling. Of the 25 selected differentially expressed genes analysed by quantitative real-time PCR 15 (60%) genes could be validated in the original samples. Of these 8 (53%) could also be validated in 24 (12-EC-CC and 12 NEC-CC) extra independent samples. The most differentially expressed genes among these were CCND2, CXCR4, GPX3, CTNND1 DHCR7, DVL3, HSPB1 and TRIM28, which probably point to hypoxic conditions or a delayed oocyte maturation in NEC-CC samples. This opens up perspectives for new molecular embryo or oocyte selection parameters which might also be useful in countries where the selection has to be made at the oocyte stage before fertilization instead of at the embryonic stage. AD - Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Research Institute Growth and Development (GROW), Academic Hospital Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands. avmn@sgyn.azm.nl
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-68
JournalMolecular Human Reproduction
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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