The present study aimed to explore the associations between the expression pattern of molecules in the Notch pathway in the cumulus cells of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) patients and the quality of zygotes and embryos.
A total of 200 cumulus complexes surrounding mature oocytes were obtained from 40 patients with and without PCOS undergoing intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The expressions of Notch-1, Notch-2, and Notch-3 genes were examined by Reverse Transcription Q-PCR assay. Moreover, immunocytochemistry was performed for the expressions of Jagged-1 and Jagged-2 proteins. The correlations between the Notch receptors and their ligand expressions and the qualities of the zygote and embryo were investigated.
The expression levels of Notch-2, Notch-3, Jagged-1, and Jagged-2 were significantly lower in patients with PCOS than in normal women (p < 0.05), while Notch-1 showed no meaningful difference between the groups. A positive correlation was found between Notch-1 and embryo quality. Furthermore, only Notch-2 and Jagged-2 marginally correlated with zygote quality.
The data of the present study indicated that evaluating the molecules in the Notch pathway in PCOS patients’ cumulus cells provides a novel approach to predict the zygote and embryo quality. However, further studies on a larger population are needed to validate this finding.