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Reprod Fertil Dev. 2012;24(5):679-90. doi: 10.1071/RD11204.

Differential effects of linoleic and alpha-linolenic fatty acids on spatial and temporal mitochondrial distribution and activity in bovine oocytes.

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Reproduction, Genes and Development Group, Department of Veterinary Basic Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, Hatfield, Herts AL9 7TA, UK.


Using specific stains and confocal microscope imaging, the patterns of mitochondrial distribution, mitochondrial inner membrane potential and reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels during bovine oocyte maturation were determined in the presence or absence of physiological concentrations of linoleic acid (LA; 100µM) or α-linolenic acid (ALA; 50µM). Mitochondrial distribution in control oocytes at 0h was mainly peripheral and changed to a diffused pattern after 1h of culture; this was maintained up to 24h. Mitochondrial clusters were observed during the early hours of maturation (1-4h); the majority of these were arranged in perinuclear fashion. LA supplementation resulted in: (1) delayed redistribution of the mitochondria from a peripheral to a diffuse pattern and a decreased percentages of oocytes showing perinuclear mitochondrial clusters, (2) decreased mitochondrial inner membrane potential at 1 and 24h compared with the control and (3) higher ROS levels, associated with a lower nuclear maturation rate. In contrast, ALA supplementation had no effect on mitochondrial distribution and activity and decreased ROS levels compared with the control; this was associated with an increased nuclear maturation rate. In conclusion, LA induced alterations in mitochondrial distribution and activity as well as increasing ROS levels, which mediate, at least in part, the inhibitory effect on oocyte maturation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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