Decreased Oocyte-Granulosa Cell Gap Junction Communication and Connexin Expression in a Type 1 Diabetic Mouse Model

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Abstract

In women, type 1 diabetes is associated with an increased risk of poor prenatal outcomes such as congenital anomalies and early miscarriage. In murine models of type 1 diabetes, impaired oocyte meiotic maturation, abnormal oocyte metabolism, and increased granulosa cell apoptosis have been noted. because gap junction communication is critical for the regulation of oocyte growth and meiotic maturation, we investigated the level of communication between the oocyte and surrounding cumulus cells in a streptozotocin-induced type 1 diabetic B6SJL/F1 mouse model and the expression of gap junction proteins known as connexins. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching analyses of cumulus cell-enclosed oocytes (CEOs) from diabetic mice showed a 60% decrease in communication as compared with CEOs from nondiabetic mice. Real-time RT-PCR analyses confirmed the presence of Cx26, Cx37, and Cx57 mRNA and revealed a significant decrease in Cx37 mRNA expression in oocytes from diabetic mice compared with nondiabetic mice. Western analyses detected Cx26 expression in CEO but not denuded oocyte (DO) samples, and Cx37 in DO samples. Cx26 protein levels were decreased by 78% in CEOs from diabetic mice, and Cx37 protein levels were decreased 36% in DOs from diabetic mice. This decrease in connexin expression and gap junction communication in CEOs from diabetic mice may be responsible for the impaired oocyte meiotic maturation and poor pregnancy outcomes.

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