Background: To determine whether matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their tissue inhibitors (TIMP-1 and TIMP-2) in human follicular fluid, have any relationships with oocyte maturation in vivo and subsequent fertilization during in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) cycles. Methods: The follicular fluids were obtained from 150 female patients undergoing IVF/ICSI cycles and a total of 1504 oocytes were retrieved for analysis. MMP-2 and MMP-9 activities were measured using zymography assay. TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 concentrations were quantitatively assessed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Results: Human follicular fluid MMP-2 level was significantly associated with the rate of maturity of oocytes (P < 0.001). Furthermore, the MMP-2 was significantly associated with the higher fertilization rate (P < 0.01). There was no significant correlation between follicular MMP-9 and the maturation rate of oocytes. The TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 also showed no correlation with the oocyte maturation rate. Conclusions: The level of gelatinase MMP-2 in human follicular fluid might be a reliable marker of mature oocytes during IVF/ICSI cycles. Furthermore, the MMP-2 expression has a strong association with higher fertilization rate. Further studies are needed to support this theory.
- Follicular fluid
- In vitro fertilization
- Matrix metalloproteinase
- Oocytes maturation
- Tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase