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Elevated non-esterified fatty acid concentrations during bovine oocyte maturation compromise early embryo physiology

Van Hoeck, Veerle; Sturmey, Roger G.; Bermejo-Alvarez, Pablo; Rizos, Dimitrios; Gutierrez-Adan, Alfonso; Leese, Henry J.; Bols, Peter E. J.; Leroy, Jo L. M. R.


Veerle Van Hoeck

Pablo Bermejo-Alvarez

Dimitrios Rizos

Alfonso Gutierrez-Adan

Henry J. Leese

Peter E. J. Bols

Jo L. M. R. Leroy


Samuel Kim


Elevated concentrations of serum non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), associated with maternal disorders such as obesity and type II diabetes, alter the ovarian follicular micro-environment and have been associated with subfertility arising from reduced oocyte developmental competence. We have asked whether elevated NEFA concentrations during oocyte maturation affect the development and physiology of zygotes formed from such oocytes, using the cow as a model. The zygotes were grown to blastocysts, which were evaluated for their quality in terms of cell number, apoptosis, expression of key genes, amino acid turnover and oxidative metabolism. Oocyte maturation under elevated NEFA concentrations resulted in blastocysts with significantly lower cell number, increased apoptotic cell ratio and altered mRNA abundance of DNMT3A, IGF2R and SLC2A1. In addition, the blastocysts displayed reduced oxygen, pyruvate and glucose consumption, up-regulated lactate consumption and higher amino acid metabolism. These data indicate that exposure of maturing oocytes to elevated NEFA concentrations has a negative impact on fertility not only through a reduction in oocyte developmental capacity but through compromised early embryo quality, viability and metabolism.


Van Hoeck, V., Sturmey, R. G., Bermejo-Alvarez, P., Rizos, D., Gutierrez-Adan, A., Leese, H. J., …Leroy, J. L. M. R. (2011). Elevated non-esterified fatty acid concentrations during bovine oocyte maturation compromise early embryo physiology. PloS one, 6(8), e23183. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023183

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Aug 17, 2011
Publication Date Aug 22, 2011
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2014
Publicly Available Date Nov 13, 2014
Journal PLoS ONE
Print ISSN 1932-6203
Electronic ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 8
Pages e23183
Keywords General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; General Agricultural and Biological Sciences; General Medicine
Public URL
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