Impaired oocyte quality has been demonstrated in diabetic mice; however, the potential pathways by which maternal diabetes exerts its effects on the oocyte are poorly understood. Cumulus cells are in direct contact with the oocyte via gap junctions and provide essential nutrients to support oocyte development. In this study, we investigated the effects of maternal diabetes on the mitochondrial status in cumulus cells. We found an increased frequency of fragmented mitochondria, a decreased transmembrane potential and an aggregated distribution of mitochondria in cumulus cells from diabetic mice. Furthermore, while mitochondrial biogenesis in cumulus cells was induced by maternal diabetes, their metabolic function was disrupted as evidenced by lower ATP and citrate levels. Moreover, we present evidence suggesting that the mitochondrial impairments induced by maternal diabetes, at least in part, lead to cumulus cell apoptosis through the release of cytochrome c. Together the deleterious effects on cumulus cells may disrupt trophic and signaling interactions with the oocyte, contributing to oocyte incompetence and thus poor pregnancy outcomes in diabetic females.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15901
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2010


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