Oocyte environment Follicular fluid and cumulus cells are critical for oocyte health
Bidirectional somatic cell–oocyte interactions are essential to create a dynamic intrafollicular microenvironment that fosters development of a healthy oocyte and preimplantation embryo.
Daniel A. Dumesic, M.D., David R. Meldrum, M.D., Mandy G. Katz-Jaffe, Ph.D., Rebecca L. Krisher, Ph.D., William B. Schoolcraft, M.D.
Volume 103, Issue 2, Pages 303-316
Bidirectional somatic cell–oocyte signaling is essential to create a changing intrafollicular microenvironment that controls primordial follicle growth into a cohort of growing follicles, from which one antral follicle is selected to ovulate a healthy oocyte. Such intercellular communications allow the oocyte to determine its own fate by influencing the intrafollicular microenvironment, which in turn provides the necessary cellular functions for oocyte developmental competence, which is defined as the ability of the oocyte to complete meiosis and undergo fertilization, embryogenesis, and term development. These coordinated somatic cell–oocyte interactions attempt to balance cellular metabolism with energy requirements during folliculogenesis, including changing energy utilization during meiotic resumption. If these cellular mechanisms are perturbed by metabolic disease and/or maternal aging, molecular damage of the oocyte can alter macromolecules, induce mitochondrial mutations, and reduce adenosine triphosphate production, all of which can harm the oocyte. Recent technologies are now exploring transcriptional, translational, and post-translational events within the human follicle with the goal of identifying biomarkers that reliably predict oocyte quality in the clinical setting.