Research question: Can the adipocytokine milieu of the follicular niche improve the ability to predict treatment outcomes in infertile patients? Design: Follicular fluid samples from overweight patients were analysed and compared with samples from matched normal-weight patients. Concentrations of adiponectin, chemerin, C-reactive protein, interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-10, IL-18, insulin, leptin, prolactin, resistin, tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and bone morphogenetic protein-15 (BMP-15) were assessed by multiple magnetic bead immunoassay (MMBI) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and correlated with fertility treatment outcomes. Results: Analysis of samples from 22 overweight and 22 normal-weight patients demonstrated that TNF-α can predict oocyte maturation rate. When stratified by body mass index (BMI), IL-10 emerges as a better predictor of oocyte maturation in normal-weight patients. Prolactin was a negative predictor for fertilization rate in the full cohort, and this prediction power was lost upon stratification. No adipocytokines were predictive of blastulation rate, and only age remained predictive. BMP-15 was a strong predictor of high-quality blastulation in the full cohort, more so in the normal-weight population. Conclusions: The adipocytokine milieu of the follicular fluid provides a snapshot of the growing oocyte's environment and can help predict fertility treatment outcomes, fine-tuning understanding of the dysregulation caused by increasing BMI. Inflammatory cytokines can predict oocyte maturation; prolactin, oocyte competence; and BMP-15, high-quality blastulation. Further analysis of these findings with a larger sample size and assessing individual oocytes will help shed more light on the clinical significance of these findings.
- ART outcomes
- Assisted reproductive technology
- Body mass index
- Proinflammatory cytokines