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Notch signaling pathway in cumulus cells reflecting zygote and embryo quality in polycystic ovary syndrome



The present study aimed to explore the associations between the expression pattern of molecules in the Notch pathway in the cumulus cells of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) patients and the quality of zygotes and embryos.


A total of 200 cumulus complexes surrounding mature oocytes were obtained from 40 patients with and without PCOS undergoing intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The expressions of Notch-1, Notch-2, and Notch-3 genes were examined by Reverse Transcription Q-PCR assay. Moreover, immunocytochemistry was performed for the expressions of Jagged-1 and Jagged-2 proteins. The correlations between the Notch receptors and their ligand expressions and the qualities of the zygote and embryo were investigated.


The expression levels of Notch-2, Notch-3, Jagged-1, and Jagged-2 were significantly lower in patients with PCOS than in normal women (p < 0.05), while Notch-1 showed no meaningful difference between the groups. A positive correlation was found between Notch-1 and embryo quality. Furthermore, only Notch-2 and Jagged-2 marginally correlated with zygote quality.


The data of the present study indicated that evaluating the molecules in the Notch pathway in PCOS patients’ cumulus cells provides a novel approach to predict the zygote and embryo quality. However, further studies on a larger population are needed to validate this finding.

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The authors wish to thank Tehran University of Medical Sciences (grant number: 26153) and are grateful to the IVF staff of Arash Hospital.


This study was supported by the research fund of Tehran University of Medical Sciences.

Author information




MM: data analysis, Manuscript writing; NY: data collection; FS: primer design; RA: project management; MAK: patient selection; SE: manuscript writing; EH: manuscript editing; EA: data collection; AH: patient selection; KM: data collection; AM: patient selection; FA: project management; ES: data collection, project development, manuscript writing/editing, data analysis.

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Correspondence to Ensieh Salehi.

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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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All the procedures performed in the present study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Ethics Committee of Tehran University of Medical Sciences (26,153) and the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments.

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Signed informed consents were obtained from all the patients prior to the study.

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Masoudi, M., Yamini, N., Salehi, F. et al. Notch signaling pathway in cumulus cells reflecting zygote and embryo quality in polycystic ovary syndrome. Arch Gynecol Obstet 304, 1097–1105 (2021).

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  • Notch
  • Cumulus cells
  • Embryo quality
  • Zygote
  • PCOS