Maternal aging-associated reduction of oocyte viability is a common feature in mammals, but more research is needed to counteract this process. In women, the first aging phenotype appears with a decline in reproductive function, and the follicle number gradually decreases from menarche to menopause. Cows can be used as a model of early human embryonic development and reproductive aging because both species share a very high degree of similarity during follicle selection, cleavage, and blastocyst formation. Recently, it has been proposed that the main driver of aging is the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling rather than reactive oxygen species. Based on these observations, the study aimed to investigate for the first time the possible role of rapamycin on oocyte maturation, embryonic development, and telomere length in the bovine species, as a target for future strategies for female infertility caused by advanced maternal age. The 1nm rapamycin treatment showed the best results for maturation rates (95.21±4.18%) of oocytes and was considered for further experiments. In conclusion, rapamycin influenced maturation rates of oocytes in a concentration-dependent manner. Our results also suggest a possible link between mTOR, telomere maintenance, and bovine blastocyst formation.

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PubMed