Postovulatory aging is a process occurring in the mature (MII) oocyte leading the unfertilized ones to apoptosis. The optimal time window of fertility for different mammalian species after oocytes maturation depends on its timeliness: the higher the time elapsed from the accomplishment of the MII stage, the lower are the chances of fertilization and of development of a viable embryo. In the in vitro fertilization, the selection of competent oocytes for intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is mostly made by the visual inspection of the MII oocyte morphology, which does not allow to determine the oocyte postovulatory age. On the other hand, more specific tests usually involve some kind of staining, thus compromising the viability of the oocyte for reproductive purposes. Hence, the need of a noninvasive analysis of oocyte aging to improve the success rate of in vitro fertilization procedures. Here, we exploit atomic force microscopy to examine the evolution of the mechanical properties of mouse oocytes during in vitro postovulatory aging. Three hours before the occurrence of any visual morphological feature related to degradation, we observe a sudden change of the mechanical parameters: the elastic modulus doubles its initial value, while the viscosity decreases significantly. These mechanical variations are temporally correlated with the release of the cortical granules, investigated by fluorescence microscopy. Interestingly, the oocyte mechanics correlates as well with the yield of embryo formation, evaluated up to the blastocyst formation stage. These results demonstrate that minimally invasive mechanical measurements are very sensitive to the aging of the oocyte and can be used as a label-free method to detect the age of the postovulatory oocytes.

Atomic force spectroscopy-based essay to evaluate oocyte postovulatory aging

Battistella, Alice
;
Zanetti, Michele;Stebel, Marco;Ricci, Giuseppe;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Postovulatory aging is a process occurring in the mature (MII) oocyte leading the unfertilized ones to apoptosis. The optimal time window of fertility for different mammalian species after oocytes maturation depends on its timeliness: the higher the time elapsed from the accomplishment of the MII stage, the lower are the chances of fertilization and of development of a viable embryo. In the in vitro fertilization, the selection of competent oocytes for intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is mostly made by the visual inspection of the MII oocyte morphology, which does not allow to determine the oocyte postovulatory age. On the other hand, more specific tests usually involve some kind of staining, thus compromising the viability of the oocyte for reproductive purposes. Hence, the need of a noninvasive analysis of oocyte aging to improve the success rate of in vitro fertilization procedures. Here, we exploit atomic force microscopy to examine the evolution of the mechanical properties of mouse oocytes during in vitro postovulatory aging. Three hours before the occurrence of any visual morphological feature related to degradation, we observe a sudden change of the mechanical parameters: the elastic modulus doubles its initial value, while the viscosity decreases significantly. These mechanical variations are temporally correlated with the release of the cortical granules, investigated by fluorescence microscopy. Interestingly, the oocyte mechanics correlates as well with the yield of embryo formation, evaluated up to the blastocyst formation stage. These results demonstrate that minimally invasive mechanical measurements are very sensitive to the aging of the oocyte and can be used as a label-free method to detect the age of the postovulatory oocytes.
2022
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https://aiche.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/btm2.10294
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3040067
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