Oxytocin (OT) has been detected in mammalian granulosa-luteal cells during the early stages. The purpose of this study was to explore gene expressions of OT and OT receptor (OTR) in human cumulus cells. Cumulus cells enclosing a mature oocyte were obtained from 6 women undergoing clinical in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer programs. OT and OTR gene expressions were investigated by employing reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction/single-strand conformation polymorphism methods. OT gene expression in the cumulus cells was positive in 5 women and weakly positive in the remaining patient. The structure of OT mRNA in the cumulus cells was equivalent to that in human hypothalamus. OTR gene expression was also observed in the cumulus cells. This study is the first to describe the simultaneous expression of both OT and OTR genes in human cumulus cells. It is suggested that local OT plays some important roles in fertility through modification of the micro-environment around the oocyte.

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