Expression of leptin and its receptor in the murine ovary: Possible role in the regulation of oocyte maturation

Natalie K. Ryan, Carole M. Woodhouse, Kylie H. Van der Hoek, Robert B. Gilchrist, David T. Armstrong, Robert J. Norman

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Leptin is a product of the ob gene that is produced primarily by adipose tissue. Leptin and its receptors are found within the ovary, but it is unclear what function this hormone has in the ovary. Using immunohistochemistry, we determined that leptin is found in most cell types in the murine ovary, with the highest staining levels observed in the oocyte. Leptin receptor was also expressed in all of the main ovarian cell types, with the thecal cell layer exhibiting the highest staining levels. Leptin administration did not affect spontaneous or induced maturation of either isolated denuded oocytes or cumulus-oocyte complexes, but it did significantly increase the rate of meiotic resumption in preovulatory follicle-enclosed oocytes (P < 0.01). Measurements of cAMP within oocytes cultured with leptin showed that this enhanced ability to resume meiosis does not occur via activation of phosphodiesterase 3B and subsequent cAMP reduction. These results provide evidence that leptin affects oocyte maturation when the oocyte is cultured within its normal follicular environment. It is suggested that leptin may induce the production of another factor, possibly from thecal cells, that directly or indirectly acts on the oocyte to initiate germinal vesicle breakdown in this species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1548-1554
Number of pages7
JournalBiology of Reproduction
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


  • Cytokines
  • Leptin
  • Leptin receptor
  • Oocyte development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology

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