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BiJun Wang, Jing Li, QingLing Yang, FuLi Zhang, MengMeng Hao, and YiHong Guo

This study aimed to explore the association between soluble receptor for advanced glycation end products (sRAGE) levels in follicular fluid and the number of oocytes retrieved and to evaluate the effect of sRAGE on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in granulosa cells in patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Two sets of experiments were performed in this study. In part one, sRAGE and VEGF protein levels in follicular fluid samples from 39 patients with PCOS and 35 non-PCOS patients were measured by ELISA. In part two, ovarian granulosa cells were isolated from an additional 10 patients with PCOS and cultured. VEGF and SP1 mRNA and protein levels, as well as pAKT levels, were detected by real-time PCR and Western blotting after cultured cells were treated with different concentrations of sRAGE. Compared with the non-PCOS patients, patients with PCOS had lower sRAGE levels in follicular fluid. Multi-adjusted regression analysis showed that high sRAGE levels in follicular fluid predicted a lower Gn dose, more oocytes retrieved, and a better IVF outcome in the non-PCOS group. Logistic regression analysis showed that higher sRAGE levels predicted favorably IVF outcomes in the non-PCOS group. Multi-adjusted regression analysis also showed that high sRAGE levels in follicular fluid predicted a lower Gn dose in the PCOS group. Treating granulosa cells isolated from patients with PCOS with recombinant sRAGE decreased VEGF and SP1 mRNA and protein expression and pAKT levels in a dose-dependent manner.

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Qingling Yang, Shanjun Dai, Xiaoyan Luo, Jing Zhu, Fangyuan Li, Jinhao Liu, Guidong Yao, and Yingpu Sun

The quality of postovulatory metaphase II oocytes undergoes a time-dependent deterioration as a result of the aging process. Melatonin is considered to be an anti-aging agent. However, the underlying mechanisms of how melatonin improves the quality of postovulatory aged oocytes remain largely unclear. In this study, by using mouse model, we found that there were elevated reactive oxygen species levels and impaired mitochondrial function demonstrated by reduced mitochondrial membrane potential and increased mitochondrial aggregation in oocytes aged 24 h, accompanied by an increased number of meiotic errors, unregulated autophagy-related proteins and early apoptosis, which led to decreased oocyte quality and disrupted developmental competence. However, all of these events can be largely prevented by supplementing the oocyte culture medium with 10−3 M melatonin. Additionally, we found that the expression of sirtuin family members (SIRT1, 2 and 3) was dramatically reduced in aged oocytes. In addition, in vitro supplementation with melatonin significantly upregulated the expression of SIRT1 and antioxidant enzyme MnSOD, but this action was not observed for SIRT2 and SIRT3. Furthermore, the protective effect of melatonin on the delay of oocyte aging vanished when the SIRT1 inhibitor EX527 was used to simultaneously treat the oocytes with melatonin. Consistent with this finding, we found that the postovulatory oocyte aging process was markedly attenuated when the oocytes were treated with the SIRT1 activator SRT1720. In conclusion, our data strongly indicate that melatonin delays postovulatory mouse oocyte aging via a SIRT1–MnSOD-dependent pathway, which may provide a molecular mechanism support for the further application of melatonin in the assisted reproductive technology field.

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Hui Li, Huan Wang, Jianmin Xu, Xinxin Zeng, Yingpu Sun, and Qingling Yang

In brief

Oocyte quality and its NAD+ level decrease with time during in vitro culture. This study shows that nicotinamide riboside (NR) supplementation improves early embryonic development potential in post-ovulatory oocytes by decreasing the reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and reducing DNA damage and apoptosis which could potentially increase the success rate of assisted reproductive technology (ART).


The quality of post-ovulatory oocytes deteriorates over time, impacting the outcome of early embryonic development during human ART. We and other groups have found that NAD+, a prominent redox cofactor and enzyme substrate, decreases in both aging ovaries and oocytes. In this study, we found that the NAD+ levels decreased in the post-ovulatory mouse oocytes during in vitro culture and this decrease was partly prevented by NR supplementation. NR treatmenty restored MII oocyte quality and enhanced the early embryonic development potential of post-ovulatory oocytes via alleviating mitochondrial dysfunction and maintaining normal spindle/chromosome structure. Also, treatment with NR decreased ROS levels and reduced DNA damage and apoptosis in post-ovulatory oocytes. Taken together, our findings indicated that NR supplementation increases the oocyte quality and early embryonic development potential in post-ovulatory oocytes which could potentially increase the success rate of ART.