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Molecular Reproduction and Development
This study was conducted to assess the role of AMPK in regulating meiosis in mouse oocytes from the germinal vesicle stage to metaphase II. Exposure of mouse cumulus cell-enclosed oocytes (CEO) and denuded oocytes (DO) during spontaneous maturation in vitro to AMPK-activating agents resulted in augmentation of the rate and frequency of polar body formation. Inhibitors of AMPK had an opposite, inhibitory effect. In addition, the AMPK inhibitor, compound C (Cmpd C) increased the frequency of oocyte activation. The stimulatory action of the AMPK-activating agent, AICAR, and the inhibitory action of Cmpd C were diminished if exposure was delayed, indicating an early action of AMPK on polar body formation. The frequency of spontaneous and Cmpd C-induced activation in CEO was reduced as the period of hormonal priming was increased, and AMPK stimulation eliminated the activation response. Immunostaining of oocytes with antibody to active AMPK revealed an association of active kinase with chromatin, spindle poles, and midbody during maturation. Immunolocalization of the α1 catalytic subunit of AMPK showed an association with condensed chromatin and the meiotic spindle but not in the spindle poles or midbody; α2 stained only diffusely throughout the oocyte. These data suggest that AMPK is involved in a regulatory capacity throughout maturation and helps promote the completion of meiosis while suppressing premature activation.