The present study was designed to determine the localization of nitric oxide synthase-3 (NOS-3) in porcine follicles during follicular development. A 130-kDa NOS-3 protein was found with greater frequency much in the oocytes than in the cumulus cells, as revealed by Western blotting analysis. The content of NOS-3 in the oocyte was higher in large follicles (> 7-mm diameter) than in small follicles (< 2-mm). The data by Western blotting showed the same pattern as the observations obtained from the immunohistochemical studies, in which the periphery of the oocyte stained strong positive. The inner surface cell layer of granulosa cells and cumulus cells were positive staining, especially in large antral follicles. In the primordial follicles, NOS-3 was restricted to the cytoplasm of oocytes, and no stained product was observed in the nucleus of oocytes or granulosa cells. A significant synthesis of NO by oocytes was observed in the presence of ionomycin, but not in the absence of ionomycin, indicating that oocyte NOS-3 functions in response to transient elevations in the intracellular calcium level. We concluded that NOS-3 is expressed in the oocyte from the primordial follicular stage to antral follicular stage, and that it is functional at least in the antral follicles.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology