Quantification and distribution of equine oocyte cortical granules during meiotic maturation and after activation

Gustavo F. Carneiro, Irwin K.M. Liu, Dallas Hyde, Gary B. Anderson, Pedro L. Lorenzo, Barry A. Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


In vitro fertilization (IVF) is being routinely used in humans and several domestic species, however, limited success has been achieved in the horse. Although immature equine oocytes are capable of completing meiosis in vitro, subsequent fertilization, and embryonic development of those oocytes are questionable. The lack of development of these oocytes could be attributed to an impaired cytoplasmic maturation. In the horse, the study of oocyte cytoplasmic maturation and post-fertilization development has been hindered by the lack of progress in IVF. In mammalian oocytes, migration of cortical granules (CG) has been used as an important criterion to evaluate cytoplasmic maturation. The aim of this study was to describe and quantify the CG distribution of equine oocytes during in vitro meiotic maturation and to assess activation of oocytes with calcium ionophore based upon fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-labeled Lens culinaris agglutinin (LCA) and laser confocal microscopy. The results of this study indicate that CG are distributed throughout the cytoplasm of oocytes at the germinal vesicle (GV) stage (immature). As maturation proceeds, a progressive centripetal migration of CG to the oocyte cortex occurs with the formation of a monolayer adjacent to the plasma membrane starting by the end of a 30 hr incubation period and increasing significantly after 36 hr. After activation, significant reduction in the number of CG was observed (P < 0.001) suggesting that oocytes cultured under the present conditions possess the ability to release CG in response to the elevation of intracellular free calcium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-458
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Reproduction and Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002


  • Activation
  • Cytoplasmic maturation
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Equine
  • Oocyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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