Reproduction, fertility, and development

Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) promotes primordial follicle growth and reduces DNA fragmentation through the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/protein kinase B (PI3K/AKT) signalling pathway.

PMID 29843892


We investigated the effects of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) on the morphology and follicular activation of ovine preantral follicles cultured in situ and whether the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/protein kinase B (PI3K/AKT) pathway is involved in IGF-1 action in the sheep ovary. Ovine ovarian fragments were fixed for histological and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labelling (TUNEL) analyses (fresh control) or cultured in supplemented alpha-minimum essential medium (α-MEM+; control) or α-MEM+ with IGF-1 (1, 10, 50, 100 or 200ngmL-1) for 7 days. Follicles were classified as normal or atretic, primordial or growing and the oocyte and follicle diameters were measured. DNA fragmentation was evaluated by TUNEL assay. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) immunohistochemistry was performed on the fresh control, α-MEM+ and 100ngmL-1 IGF-1 samples. Inhibition of PI3K activity was performed through pretreatment with the PI3K inhibitor LY294002 and phosphorylated AKT (pAKT) expression was analysed after culture in the absence or presence of LY294002. IGF-1 at 100ngmL-1 increased (P<0.05) follicular activation compared with α-MEM+ and decreased TUNEL-positive cells (P<0.05) compared with other treatments. PCNA-positive cells also increased (P<0.05) in 100ngmL-1 IGF-1. LY294002 significantly inhibited follicular activation stimulated by α-MEM+ and 100ngmL-1 IGF-1 and reduced pAKT expression in follicles. Overall, IGF-1 at 100ngmL-1 promoted primordial follicle activation, cell proliferation and reduced DNA fragmentation after in situ culture through the PI3K/AKT pathway.