INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of chemical changes in the follicular fluid and histological changes in the cumulus cells of the oocyte microenvironment on the number of oocytes in infertile patients.
METHODS: A total of 50 female patients aged 18-35 who presented at the Atatürk University Research Hospital Infertility Clinic and for infertility treatment were included. The patients were divided into 3 groups: Patients with fewer than 5 oocytes were classified as Group 1, patients with 5-20 oocytes comprised Group 2, and Group 3 was made up of patients with >20 oocytes. During the oocyte collection process, follicular fluid was aspirated from the follicles and the cumulus cells were collected. The follicular fluid was stored at -80°C for use in biochemical analysis of malondialdehyde (MDA), total antioxidant status (TAS), total oxidant status (TOS), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione (GSH). Immunohistochemical staining was performed to examine caspase-3 and mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) immunoreactivity at the stereological level.
RESULTS: The MDA level and total oxidant capacity (TOC) in the follicular fluid were higher in Group 1 patients than in the other 2 groups, while the SOD was lower (p<0.05). In Group 2 patients, the MDA level and TOS were higher than those of Group 3, while the SOD level was lower (p<0.05). The total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and GSH levels did not vary significantly according to the number of oocytes (p<0.05). Immunohistochemical staining showed that mTOR and caspase-3 immunoreactivity were more intense in Group 1 than in the other groups.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: The increase in mTOR expression may activate the caspase-3 pathway, which could lead to oxidative stress. The mTOR pathway may affect the oocyte count.