Obesity in women is a concern in many countries. This causes numerous health issues; however, this review focuses on the impact of obesity on women's reproduction, and in particular the oocyte. Data from infertility clinics and experimental animal models that address the effects of obesity are presented. Bidirectional communication and metabolic support from the surrounding cumulus cells are critical for oocyte development, and the impact of obesity on these cells is also addressed. Both oocyte maturation and metabolism are impaired due to obesity, negatively impacting further development. In addition to reproductive hormones, obesity induced elevations in insulin, glucose, or free fatty acids, and changes in adipokines appear to impact the developmental competence of the oocyte. The data indicate that any one of these hormones or metabolites can impair oocyte developmental competence in vivo, and the combination of all of these factors and their interactions are the subject of ongoing investigations.
- Cumulus cell