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Comparative Study
, 3 (8), 978-89

Cytoskeletal Organization in Fresh, Aged and Spontaneously Activated Human Oocytes

Comparative Study

Cytoskeletal Organization in Fresh, Aged and Spontaneously Activated Human Oocytes

S J Pickering et al. Hum Reprod.


The cytoskeleton of the human oocyte (microtubules and actin filaments) has been examined using fluorescence microscopy. In unfertilized oocytes in metaphase of the second meiotic division, microtubules were found exclusively within the spindle which was located at the periphery of the cell and oriented radially, with its long axis perpendicular to the surface membrane. The spindle was anastral and slightly pointed at each pole, the chromosomes being arranged on a metaphase plate at the equator. When treated with taxol, the oocyte spindle became astral and microtubules appeared in the cortex of the oocyte in the form of small strands or bundles. Polymerized actin was found to be present in a dense filamentous layer throughout the cortex of the unfertilized oocyte. Aged unfertilized oocytes displayed an increased incidence of disrupted or abnormal cytoskeletal organization. In parthenogenetically activated oocytes in anaphase and telophase, microtubules were again found predominantly in the spindle but in addition, cortical strands or bundles of microtubules were often present. Oocytes in late telophase sometimes showed the presence of a concentrated ring of actin in the cleavage furrow between the oocyte and the second polar body. Activated oocytes in early interphase contained a dense cortical mesh of microtubules and a midbody remnant between the oocyte and the polar body. The cytoskeletal organizations of mouse and human oocytes are compared.

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