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Exp Cell Res. 2012 Jul 15;318(12):1394-9. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2012.02.012. Epub 2012 Feb 24.

Chromosomal, metabolic, environmental, and hormonal origins of aneuploidy in mammalian oocytes.

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Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.


Aneuploidy is a leading cause of early embryo loss, miscarriage and birth defects in humans. It is predominantly brought about by the mis-segregation of homologous chromosomes (bivalents) in the first meiotic division (MI) of the oocyte, with advanced maternal age being a risk factor. Although its etiology is likely to be multifactorial the predominating factors remain amenable for study in models such as mice. Homologous chromosome separation in MI is achieved by the mono-orientation of functionally paired sister kinetochores but despite this unique division the Spindle Assembly Checkpoint (SAC), which prevents sister chromatid mis-segregation in mitosis, is functional in mouse oocytes. However, it remains to be fully established what types of error the SAC respond to, for example the presence of univalents, and how sensitive it is to attachment or tension defects in bivalent alignment. Such errors may increase with advanced maternal age as chromosomes lose their cohesive ties and the oocyte has less capacity to service the metabolic needs associated with meiotic division. Environmental insults and hormonal changes could also affect the fidelity of this process. Here we review how all these factors converge on the meiotic spindle during MI to cause mis-segregation errors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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