Molecular reproduction and development

Leukemia inhibitory factor promotes porcine oocyte maturation and is accompanied by activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3.

PMID 24307388


We produced recombinant porcine leukemia inhibitory factor (pLIF) and examined its effect on in vitro maturation (IVM) of porcine oocytes and their developmental competence after in vitro fertilization. Porcine cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) were matured in a medium supplemented with pLIF during the first 22 hr, last 22 hr, or entire 44 hr duration of IVM. Oocytes in all groups tended to show enhanced nuclear maturation rates by the metaphase II (MII) stage (76.1%, 82.1%, and 86.6%, respectively) compared to the without-pLIF treatment group (69.6%, control). A significant increase in MII rate (P < 0.05) and obvious induction of cumulus expansion were observed over the whole time span (44 hr) in the IVM group. When cumulus cells were removed at 22 hr and denuded oocytes were further cultured, pLIF showed no effect on maturation rate. Oocytes matured in pLIF-supplemented medium showed a tendency for more rapid blastocyst development (21.1% vs. 16.2%, P = 0.0715). Examination of transcripts and proteins of the LIF signaling pathway in COCs revealed that LIF, LIF receptors, and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) are present in both cumulus cells and oocytes. The amount of phosphorylated STAT3 (p-STAT3) markedly increased in both cumulus cells and oocytes cultured in pLIF-supplemented media, although oocyte p-STAT3 disappeared after 44 hr of IVM. These results suggest that the LIF/STAT3 pathway is functional during IVM of porcine oocytes, and supplementing pLIF in the IVM medium can improve oocyte maturation by activating this pathway.