Research Paper Volume 12, Issue 8 pp 7576—7584

The effect of rapamycin on bovine oocyte maturation success and metaphase telomere length maintenance

Pawel Kordowitzki 1, 2, *, , Meriem Hamdi 3, *, , Aksinya Derevyanko 4, , Dimitrios Rizos 3, , Maria Blasco 4, ,

  • 1 Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research of Polish Academy of Sciences, Olsztyn, Poland
  • 2 Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun, Poland
  • 3 Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA), Department of Animal Reproduction, Madrid, Spain
  • 4 Telomeres and Telomerase Group, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Madrid, Spain
* Co-first author

received: February 25, 2020 ; accepted: March 30, 2020 ; published: April 27, 2020 ;
How to Cite

Copyright © 2020 Kordowitzki et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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 in vitro 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.


BSA: Bovine Serum Albumin; COC: cumulus–oocyte complex; DMSO: dimethyl sulfoxide; GV: germinal vesicle; IETS: International Embryo Transfer Society; IVC: in vitro culture; IVF: in vitro fertilization; IVM: in vitro maturation; MII: Metaphase II; MPF: maturation-promoting factor; mTOR: mammalian target of rapamycin; pxls: Pixels; ROS: reactive oxygen species; MII: Metaphase II; Q-FISH: Quantitative Fluorescence in Situ Hybridization; RAP: rapamycin; SOF: synthetic oviductal fluid; TCM: tissue culture medium.