Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 August 2009
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signalling via tyrosine kinase B receptors may play an important role in ovarian development and function. It has been reported that metformin elevates the activity of Tyrosine kinase receptors and may amplify BDNF signalling. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of BDNF during in vitro maturation (IVM) and/or in vitro culture (IVC) (Experiment 1), and to evaluate the collaborative effect of BDNF and metformin treatment on the developmental competence of bovine in vitro fertilized (IVF) embryos (Experiment 2). In Experiment 1, BDNF, which was added to our previously established IVM systems, significantly increased the proportions of MII oocytes at both 10 ng/ml (86.7%) and 100 ng/ml (85.4%) compared with the control (64.0%). However, there was no statistically significant difference in blastocyst development between the control or BDNF-supplemented groups. In Experiment 2, in order to investigate the effect of BDNF (10 ng/ml) and/or metformin (10−5 M) per se, TCM-199 without serum and hormones was used as the control IVM medium. The BDNF (48.3%) and BDNF plus metformin (56.5%) significantly enhanced the proportions of MII oocytes compared with the control (34.4%). Although, BDNF or metformin alone had no effect in embryo development, BDNF plus metformin significantly improved early embryo development to the 8–16-cell stage compared with the control (16.5 vs. 5.5%). In conclusion, the combination of BDNF and metformin may have a collaborative effect during the IVM period. These results could further contribute to the establishment of a more efficient bovine in vitro embryo production system.