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Hum Reprod. 2012 Apr;27(4):1096-111. doi: 10.1093/humrep/der453. Epub 2012 Jan 18.

Vitrification at the pre-antral stage transiently alters inner mitochondrial membrane potential but proteome of in vitro grown and matured mouse oocytes appears unaffected.

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Laboratory for Functional Genome Analysis, Gene Center, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München 81377, Germany.



Vitrification is a fast and effective method to cryopreserve ovarian tissue, but it might influence mitochondrial activity and affect gene expression to cause persistent alterations in the proteome of oocytes that grow and mature following cryopreservation.


In part one of the study, the inner mitochondrial membrane potential (Ψ(mit)) of JC-1 stained oocytes from control and CryoTop vitrified pre-antral follicles was analyzed by confocal microscopy at Day 0, or after culture of follicles for 1 or 12 days. In part two, proteins of in vivo grown germinal vesicle (GV) oocytes were subjected to proteome analysis by SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, tryptic in-gel digestion of gel slices, and one-dimensional-nano-liquid chromatography of peptides on a multi-dimensional-nano-liquid chromatography system followed by mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and Uniprot Gene Ontology (GO) analysis. In part three, samples containing the protein amount of 40 GV and metaphase II (MII) oocytes, respectively, from control and vitrified pre-antral follicles cultured for 12 or 13 days were subjected to 2D DIGE saturation labeling and separated by isoelectric focusing and SDS gel electrophoresis (2D DIGE), followed by DeCyder(Tm) analysis of spot patterns in three independent biological replicates. Statistical and hierarchical cluster analysis was employed to compare control and vitrified groups.


(i) Mitochondrial inner membrane potential differs significantly between control and vitrified GV oocytes at Day 0 and Day 1, but is similar at Day 12 of culture. (ii) LC-MS/MS analysis of SDS gel fractionated protein lysates of 988 mouse GV oocytes revealed identification of 1123 different proteins with a false discovery rate of <1%. GO analysis assigned 811 proteins to the 'biological process' subset. Thirty-five percent of the proteins corresponded to metabolic processes, about 15% to mitochondrion and transport, each, and close to 8% to oxidation-reduction processes. (iii) From the 2D-saturation DIGE analysis 1891 matched spots for GV-stage and 1718 for MII oocyte proteins were detected and the related protein abundances in vitrified and control oocytes were quantified. None of the spots was significantly altered in intensity, and hierarchical cluster analysis as well as histograms of p and q values suggest that vitrification at the pre-antral stage does not significantly alter the proteome of GV or MII oocytes compared with controls.


Vitrification appears to be associated with a significant transient increase in Ψ(mit) in oocyte mitochondria, which disappears when oocyte/cumulus cell apposition is restored upon development to the antral stage. The nano-LC-MS/MS analysis of low numbers of oocytes is useful to obtain information on relevant biological signaling pathways based on protein identifications. For quantitative comparisons, saturation 2D DIGE analysis is superior to LC-MS/MS due to its high sensitivity in cases where the biological material is very limited. Genetic background, age of the female, and/or stimulation protocol appear to influence the proteome pattern. However, the quantitative 2D DIGE approach provides evidence that vitrification does not affect the oocyte proteome after recovery from transient loss of cell-cell interactions, in vitro growth and in vitro maturation under tested conditions. Therefore, transient changes in mitochondrial activity by vitrification do not appear causal to persistent alterations in the mitochondrial or overall oocyte proteome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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