Reduced oocyte and embryo quality in response to elevated non-esterified fatty acid concentrations: A possible pathway to subfertility?
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Veterinary Sciences
Animal reproduction science. - Amsterdam
, p. 19-29
University of Antwerp
Reproductive performance is increasingly considered as a 'barometer' of general wellbeing of the mother. A normal maternal 'metabolic health' status is essential to safeguard successful ovulation, conception and further embryo development. When alterations in serum metabolites are reflected in the oocyte and embryonic micro-environment, these metabolic changes can affect follicle health, oocyte development and even subsequent embryo physiology. The search continues for signals that may be critically affecting the early developmental stages in life. Years of expertise in animal in vitro embryo culture models contribute to the awareness on the influence of elevated non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) concentrations on follicle cells, oocyte and embryo quality. High NEFA concentrations in the blood are known to alter the follicular micro-environment. The latter alterations in NEFA concentrations have been associated with a disappointing fertility outcome through disabled ovarian cell function and reduced oocyte's developmental competence. Even more, elevated NEFA concentrations during bovine oocyte maturation influence the subsequent embryo characteristics. This review provides a cross-species overview on the consequences of elevated NEFA concentrations, originating from maternal lipolytic conditions, on female fertility, with particular focus on the early stages in life. Thereby, we will describe to what extent elevated serum NEFA concentrations are a potential threat around the period of conception. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.