International journal of molecular sciences

A proteomic analysis of human follicular fluid: comparison between younger and older women with normal FSH levels.

PMID 25268621


The follicular fluid (FF) is produced during folliculogenesis and contains a variety of proteins that play important roles in follicle development and oocyte maturation. Age-related infertility is usually considered as a problem that can be solved by assisted reproduction technology. Therefore, the identification of novel biomarkers that are linked to reproductive aging is the subject of this study. FF was obtained from healthy younger (20-32 years old) and older (38-42 years old) women undergoing intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) due to male factor infertility. The FF was analyzed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE). The power of two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and the identification of proteins were exploited using matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization time-of-flight/time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF-TOF) mass spectrometry. Twenty three protein spots showed reproducible and significant changes in the aged compared to the young group. Of these, 19 protein spots could be identified using MALDI-TOF-TOF-MS. As a result of MASCOT search, five unique downregulated proteins were identified in the older group. These were identified as serotransferrin, hemopexin precursor, complement C3, C4 and kininogen. A number of protein markers were found that may help develop diagnostic methods of infertility.