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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 879489, 20 pages
Review Article

Gene Expression Profiling of Human Oocytes Developed and Matured In Vivo or In Vitro

1Reproductive Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Slajmerjeva 3, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
2Institute for Anatomy and Cell Biology, Medical Faculty, University of Heidelberg, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany

Received 30 September 2012; Revised 7 December 2012; Accepted 8 December 2012

Academic Editor: Xuan Jin

Copyright © 2013 Irma Virant-Klun et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The quality of the human oocyte determines the success of fertilization and affects the consequent embryo development, pregnancy and birth; it therefore serves as a basis for human reproduction and fertility. The possibility to evaluate oocyte quality in the in vitro fertilization programme is very limited. The only criterion which is commonly used to evaluate oocyte quality is its morphology. There is a mass of oocytes in the in vitro fertilization programme which are not fertilized in spite of normal morphology. In the past, several attempts focused on oocyte gene expression profiling by different approaches. The results elucidated groups of genes related to the human oocyte. It was confirmed that some factors, such as oocyte in vitro maturation, are detectable at the molecular level of human oocytes and their polar bodies in terms of gene expression profile. Furthermore, the first genetic evaluations of oocyte-like cells developed in vitro from human stem cells of different origin were performed showing that these cells express some genes related to oocytes. All these findings provide some new knowledge and clearer insights into oocyte quality and oogenesis that might be introduced into clinical practice in the future.