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.