Transient Invasive Migration in Mouse Cumulus Oocyte Complexes Induced at Ovulation by Luteinizing Hormone

Lisa K. Akison, Emily R. Alvino, Kylie R. Dunning, Rebecca L. Robker, Darryl L. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Ovulation, the release of the oocyte from the ovarian follicle, is initiated by the luteinizing hormone surge. It is clear that highly controlled degradation of the follicle and ovarian wall is required for passage of the oocyte and accompanying cumulus cells from the follicle, but the mechanism has not yet been elucidated. Here we show that cumulus oocyte complexes (COCs) adopt transient adhesive, migratory, and matrix-invading capacities at the time of ovulation. We characterized cell adhesion, migration, and invasion in preovulatory and postovulatory mouse COCs collected over a time course post-human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) administration. Adhesion of dispersed cumulus cells and intact COCs to extracellular matrix proteins present in the ovarian wall (collagens, laminin, and fibronectin) increased significantly after hCGtreatment and declined immediately after ovulation. Cumulus cell migration was low in unexpanded, equine chorionic gonadotropin-only treated COCs, but increased 4, 8, and 10 h post-hCG, reaching a peak at 12 h post-hCG that coincided with ovulation. The ability of cumulus cells to migrate was rapidly diminished in COCs isolated from the oviduct within 2 h postovulation. Cell migration was cumulus cell specific and was not observed in granulosa cells. Invasion through three-dimensional collagen I and matrigel barriers by preovulatory expanded COCs was equivalent to that of a known invasive breast cancer cell line (MB-231). Cumulatively, these results demonstrate that cumulus cells in the expanded COC transition to an adhesive, motile, and invasive phenotype in the periovulatory period that may be required for successful release of the oocyte from the ovary at ovulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125
JournalBiology of Reproduction
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cumulus cells
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Invasive migration
  • Luteinizing hormone
  • Ovulation

Cite this