Session: S72-Novel Signaling in the Ovary
Supported by Found Animals Foundation, Inc.
Room 206 (Moscone Center)
Lipids are an important cellular energy source yet their utilization by oocytes and embryos is poorly understood. Our studies show that b-oxidation of fatty acids is induced in mouse cumulus-oocyte complexes as they undergo maturation in response to the LH surge, concurrent with induction of genes responsible for transport of fatty acids into mitochondria. In vitro b-oxidation can be modulated by regulatory co-factors to improve subsequent embryo development of the fertilized oocytes. In contrast, obesity in mouse models and women is associated with high levels of lipid within the ovarian follicle, the induction of lipotoxicity responses in oocyte complexes and poor conception rates. Blocking specific cellular stress pathways improves ovulation and oocyte viability; and importantly normalizes mitochondrial activity and blastocyst formation. Thus lipid metabolism and lipid stress pathways are important regulators of ovulation and oocyte quality and can be modulated to improve embryo development.