Metabolites involved in cellular communication among human cumulus-oocyte-complex and sperm during in vitro fertilization

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Title: Metabolites involved in cellular communication among human cumulus-oocyte-complex and sperm during in vitro fertilization
Authors: Gómez-Torres, María José | García Hernández, Eva María | Guerrero, Jaime | Medina, Sonia | Izquierdo-Rico, María José | Gil-Izquierdo, Ángel | Orduna, Jesús | Savirón, María | González-Brusi, Leopoldo | Ten Morro, Jorge | Bernabeu, Rafael | Avilés Sánchez, Manuel
Research Group/s: Biotecnología
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Biotecnología
Keywords: Cumulus cells | Acrosome reaction | Lysophosphatidylcholine | Phytosphingosine | Metabolomics
Knowledge Area: Biología Celular
Issue Date: 9-Nov-2015
Publisher: BioMed Central
Citation: Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology. 2015, 13:123. doi:10.1186/s12958-015-0118-9
Abstract: Background: Fertilization is a key physiological process for the preservation of the species. Consequently, different mechanisms affecting the sperm and the oocyte have been developed to ensure a successful fertilization. Thus, sperm acrosome reaction is necessary for the egg coat penetration and sperm-oolema fusion. Several molecules are able to induce the sperm acrosome reaction; however, this process should be produced coordinately in time and in the space to allow the success of fertilization between gametes. The goal of this study was to analyze the metabolites secreted by cumulus-oocyte-complex (COC) to find out new components that could contribute to the induction of the human sperm acrosome reaction and other physiological processes at the time of gamete interaction and fertilization. Methods: For the metabolomic analysis, eighteen aliquots of medium were used in each group, containing: a) only COC before insemination and after 3 h of incubation; b) COC and capacitated spermatozoa after insemination and incubated for 16–20 hours; c) only capacitated sperm after 16–20 h in culture and d) only fertilization medium as control. Six patients undergoing assisted reproduction whose male partners provided normozoospermic samples were included in the study. Seventy-two COC were inseminated. Results: The metabolites identified were monoacylglycerol (MAG), lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) and phytosphingosine (PHS). Analysis by PCR and in silico of the gene expression strongly suggests that the cumulus cells contribute to the formation of the PHS and LPC. Conclusions: LPC and PHS are secreted by cumulus cells during in vitro fertilization and they could be involved in the induction of human acrosome reaction (AR). The identification of new molecules with a paracrine effect on oocytes, cumulus cells and spermatozoa will provide a better understanding of gamete interaction.
Sponsor: This study was supported by grant GV/2009/097 from Department of Education, Generalitat Valenciana, Vicerrectorado de Investigación, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain (Vigrob-137), the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad AGL2012-40180-C03-02 and Fundación Seneca (04542/GERM/06).
ISSN: 1477-7827
DOI: 10.1186/s12958-015-0118-9
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2015 Gómez-Torres et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Peer Review: si
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