The potential action of purines, such as hypoxanthine and adenosine, in meiotic arrest was examined using denuded mouse oocytes. The spontaneous meiotic maturation of denuded oocytes was significantly inhibited by hypoxanthine and/or adenosine in a dose‐dependent manner. Germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD) was inhibited even at a low concentration (1 nM) of hypoxanthine, when hypoxanthine was microinjected into the cytoplasm of denuded oocytes. This inhibitory action was potentiated by co‐injection with allopurinol, a metabolic blocker of hypoxanthine that can block a metabolic pathway to uric acid. By contrast, a microinjection of adenosine was no longer effective in inhibiting GVBD. Inhibitory action of purines in meiotic maturation was correlated with sustaining intracellular cAMP levels. GVBD was resumed by econazole, one of the nitroimidazole derivatives which act as inhibitors of catalytic subunit of adenylate cyclase. This compound was effective in counteracting the effect of adenosine, but not the action of 3‐isobutyl‐1‐methylxanthine (IBMX) on GVBD, indicating that adenosine is probably exerted at the level of oocyte plasmalemma. These data suggest that the inhibitory action of hypoxanthine and adenosine in oocyte meiotic maturation may be involved in the regulation of cAMP metabolism in a differential manner.
- Denuded oocytes
- Germinal vesicle breakdown