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Hum Reprod. 2003 Oct;18(10):2124-30.

Distinct microtubule and chromatin characteristics of human oocytes after failed in-vivo and in-vitro meiotic maturation.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.



While a complete failure of meiotic maturation following hCG administration is rare during IVF cycles, cases arise in which patients repeatedly display a high incidence of failure to complete maturation to metaphase II (MII) in vivo. For the immature oocytes of such patients, our objectives were (i) to ask whether progression to MII could be supported in vitro, and (ii) to define their microtubule/chromatin properties following in-vitro maturation (IVM). Together, these studies were aimed at augmenting our understanding of factors underlying meiotic arrest in the human.


Cases are presented here for two patients (A and B) producing oocytes that recurrently showed the inability to mature to metaphase II in vivo. Following IVM attempts, chromatin and microtubule characteristics were identified in those oocytes that remained arrested during meiosis I.


In patient A, meiotically arrested oocytes exhibited clear defects in spindle and chromatin arrangements. In contrast, the majority of oocytes from patient B displayed normal MI and MII spindles with aligned chromosomes, although some oocytes exhibited indications for possible defects in cell cycle control.


Together, these analyses illustrate two cases with oocytes exhibiting a common gross defect, that is meiotic maturation arrest, but revealing different aetiologies or manifestations as evidenced by the presence or absence of abnormal spindle/chromatin organization. This work reinforces the existence of intrinsic defects in oocytes of some patients, the molecular and cellular bases of which merit further investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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