Chemical signals that regulate mammalian oocyte maturation.
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- Animal; Estrogens: ph; Female; FSH: ph; Graafian-Follicle Growth-Inhibitors: ph; Meiosis; Oocytes: gd; Peptides Progesterone: ph; Sex-Hormones
The nature and functions of the chemical signals involved in the acquisition of competence to resume meiosis, and the maintenance of meiotic arrest in antral follicles are the subjects of this paper. Evidence indicating that gonadotropins are not required for the development of competence to undergo spontaneous maturation is discussed. However, gonadotropins may promote optimal conditions for oocyte development via an estrogen-dependent action on follicular cells. Evidence for the participation of cyclic AMP (cAMP), steroids and a putative maturation-inhibiting factor in the maintenance of meiotic arrest in mammalian oocytes is discussed. Cyclic AMP seems to play a critical role in the maintenance of meiotic arrest by actions in both granulosa/cumulus cells and oocytes. However, cAMP does not appear to equilibrate between cumulus cells and oocytes. In the granulosa/cumulus cells, cAMP may promote the generation/activation of a maturation-inhibiting factor which is transferred to the oocyte. Oocyte cAMP appears to be produced in the oocyte itself. The putative maturation-inhibiting factor may be maintained in an active form by a cAMP-dependent process in the oocyte. Alternatively, the putative maturation-inhibiting factor may play a role in maintaining oocyte cAMP levels. Some steroid hormones act synergistically with a cAMP-dependent process in the oocyte to maintain meiotic arrest. However, the physiological significance of this observation remains in question.