In the ovarian follicle, a bilateral cell-to-cell communication exists between the female germ cell and the cumulus cells which surround the oocyte. This communication allows the transit of small size molecules known to impact oocyte developmental competence. Pyruvate derivatives produced by mitochondria, are one of these transferred molecules. Interestingly, mitochondria may adopt a variety of morphologies to regulate their functions. In this study, we described mitochondrial morphologies in porcine cumulus cells. Active mitochondria were stained with TMRM (Tetramethylrhodamine, Methyl Ester, Perchlorate) and observed with 2D confocal microscopy showing mitochondria of different morphologies such as short, intermediate, long, and very long. The number of mitochondria of each phenotype was quantified in cells and the results showed that most cells contained elongated mitochondria. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis confirmed at nanoscale resolution the different mitochondrial morphologies including round, short, intermediate, and long. Interestingly, 3D visualisation by focused ion-beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) revealed different complex mitochondrial morphologies including connected clusters of different sizes, branched mitochondria, as well as individual mitochondria. Since mitochondrial dynamics is a key regulator of function, the description of the mitochondrial network organisation will allow to further study mitochondrial dynamics in cumulus cells in response to various conditions such as in vitro maturation.
© 2022. The Author(s).