Antioxidant enzyme activity and oxidative stress in bovine oocyte in vitro maturation.IUBMB Life. 2001 Jan; 51(1):57-64.IL
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production is a normal process of cell metabolism. In vitro environments usually increase cell production of ROS, which has been implicated as a main cause of cell damage. Nevertheless, the role of ROS in oocyte in vitro maturation (IVM) is controversial. In most cells, enzymatic antioxidant systems can attenuate the effect of oxidative stress by scavenging ROS. The aim of this work was to determine whether: (1) standard conditions of bovine oocyte IVM are responsible for oxidative stress; (2) cumulus cells participate in protection against oxidative stress of the oocyte; and (3) enzymatic antioxidant activity is present in oocytes and cumulus cells. Cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) were matured in TCM-199 + 10% steer serum for 24 h at 39 degrees C in 5% CO2:95% humidified air. Oxidative stress was determined by the 2',7'-dichlorofluorescein diacetate assay. Superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase, and catalase activities were measured spectrophotometrically. Under standard conditions of in vitro maturation, there was no increase in ROS production per COC (P > 0.05), but ROS level per cumulus cell diminished. There was no modification in ROS levels in oocytes matured in the presence versus the absence of their surrounding cumulus cells (P > 0.05). To the best of our knowledge, the presence of SOD, glutathione peroxidase and catalase activities were detected in oocytes and cumulus cells for the first time. Enzymatic units were lower in denuded oocytes with respect to cumulus (P < 0.05), accounting for 37% for SOD, 25% for glutathione peroxidase, and 11% for catalase of the total COC units. Specific enzyme activity diminished in cumulus cells (P > 0.05) and increased in oocytes due to maturation (P > 0.05). The presence of activity of an enzymatic antioxidant system in the bovine oocyte would regulate in part ROS levels during IVM. Oocytes could be capable of controlling the increase in ROS because of the presence of their own enzymatic antioxidant system, SOD having the highest specific activity with respect to cumulus cells.