Lynda K. McGinnis, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor
University of Kansas Medical Center, 2009
In vivo and in vitro environmental effects on oocytes quality and embryonic developmental potential
Oocyte quality lays the foundation for embryonic development and the health of the next generation. The environment, whether in vivo and in vitro, affects molecular signaling pathways within the oocyte and thus has a significant influence on oocyte quality. We currently have two primary projects studying the effects of an oocyte’s environment on the developmental potential of the oocyte.
- Ovulated oocytes have a narrow window during which fertilization must occur. Post-ovulatory oocytes released either into the oviduct (in vivo) or into the culture dish (in vitro) undergo changes in molecular signaling pathways that, over time affect the ability of the oocyte to fertilize and to develop into a healthy offspring. The focus of this project is to (1) determine the kinase signaling pathways that are affected by post-ovulatory aging and (2) to determine if interventions can be designed that would protect the oocyte and extend the length of time for fertilization and optimal developmental potential.
- Prior to ovulation, oocytes are nestled between the companion granulosa (cumulus) cells, bathed in follicular fluid and surrounded by mural granulosa cells within the antral follicle. The granulosa cells and the follicular fluid form the in vivo environment of the pre-ovulatory oocyte. Follicular fluid contains an enriched mixture of proteins and molecules that can both nourish neighboring cells and carry molecular signals between those cells. Follicular fluid is also composed of microvesicles and exosomes which in turn transport cargo such as proteins and RNA. Our lab studies the biology of these exosomes/microvesicles and their effects on oocyte quality.