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Transcriptome analysis of porcine granulosa cells in healthy and atretic follicles : Role of steroidogenesis and oxidative stress

  • Meng, Li
  • Wu, Zhenfang
  • Zhao, Kun
  • Tao, Jian
  • Chit, Tam
  • Zhang, Shouquan
  • Wang, Chi Chiu
  • Teerds, Katja
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2021
Wageningen University and Researchcenter Publications
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<p>One of the main causes of female infertility is a deregulated antral follicular atresia, a process of which the underlying molecular mechanisms are largely unknown. Our objective was therefore to characterize the complex transcriptome changes in porcine granulosa cells of healthy antral (HA) and advanced antral atretic (AA) follicles, using ELISA and RNA-Seq followed by qRTPCR and immunohistochemistry. Granulosa cell RNA-Seq data revealed 2160 differentially expressed genes, 1483 with higher and 677 with lower mRNA concentrations in AA follicles. Bioinformatic analysis showed that the upregulated genes in AA follicles were highly enriched in inflammation and apoptosis processes, while the downregulated transcripts were mainly highlighted in the steroid biosynthesis pathway and response to oxidative stress processes including antioxidant genes (e.g., GSTA1, GCLC, GCLM, IDH1, GPX8) involved in the glutathione metabolism pathway and other redox-related genes (e.g., RRM2B, NDUFS4). These observations were confirmed by RT-qPCR and immunohistochemistry. Additionally, the granulosa cells of AA follicles express significantly stronger 8-OHdG immunostaining, a marker of oxidative DNA damage, implicating that oxidative stress may participate in follicular atresia. We hypothesize that the decrease in anti-apoptotic factors and steroid hormones coincides with increased oxidative stress markers and the expression of pro-apoptotic factors, all contributing to antral follicular atresia.</p>

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