Effects of an agarose matrix during in vitro maturation (IVM) on VEGFA, HIF1A, and PFKP expression in cumulus cells (CCs). Cumulus-oocyte complexes retrieved from small antral follicles were grown in vitro on the hard culture dish without an agarose matrix and then matured on the hard culture dish without (control) or with a 1% or 2% (w/v) agarose matrix. Gene expression levels in cumulus cells of in vitro matured COCs were analyzed quantitatively by a real-time PCR. The transcript abundance of VEGFA was significantly increased in CCs that matured on a 1% (w/v) agarose matrix compared to that of control (A). The transcript abundance of HIF1A in CCs of control oocytes and matured on agarose matrices were not significantly different (B). The transcript abundance of PFKP was significantly reduced in CCs that matured on the 2% (w/v) agarose compared to that of control (C). All data are represented as the means ± SEM. a,bBars with different letters are significantly different (p < 0.05).