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Cytogenet Cell Genet. 1989;52(3-4):170-6.

Nocodazole sensitivity, age-related aneuploidy, and alterations in the cell cycle during maturation of mouse oocytes.

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Lehrstuhl Gentechnologie/Mikrobiologie, Fakultät für Biologie, Universität Bielefeld, FRG.


To detect age-related alterations in the formation and function of the spindle apparatus, we examined in vitro maturing oocytes obtained from young (2-4 mo) and aged (greater than 9 mo) diestrous CBA/Ca mice. Observation of cells processed for antitubulin immunofluorescence revealed that oocytes from aged females progress faster through first maturation division than those from young animals. They are also more prone to nondisjunction, as shown by a significantly higher level of aneuploidy in C-banded cells arrested at metaphase II. The ability of oocytes to recover from treatment with a microtubule inhibitor, nocodazole, and the effect of the drug on spindle integrity and chromosome segregation were also studied. In both age groups, treatment of metaphase I oocytes with 10 microM nocodazole caused rapid and complete microtubule depolymerization and chromosome scattering. Upon recovery, oocytes from both age groups were able to reestablish a spindle apparatus, proceed through anaphase, and extrude a first polar body. However, nocodazole treatment led to a dramatic increase of aneuploidy. Unexpectedly, the relative rise in hyperploids was greater in oocytes from young mice than in those from aged mice, so that the absolute percentage of hyperploid metaphase II cells was similar in both age groups after drug treatment. Concomitantly, nocodazole exposure abolished or, at least, diminished intrinsic differences in the cell cycle and anaphase trigger present in the controls (e.g., the earlier onset of chromosome separation in oocytes from aged females). It shortened the period available for spindle formation before chromosome segregation in all oocytes. Therefore, our study implies that temporal differences in the progression of oocytes through maturation, in particular, the shortening of the time available for alignment of bivalents before chromosome separation occurs in oocytes of old females, are mainly responsible for age-related rises in aneuploidy. There is no indication that (1) the spindle apparatus of oocytes from aged mammals is more labile or susceptible to disturbances than the spindle apparatus of oocytes from young individuals or that (2) an increase in the number of univalents makes oocytes from aged mammals particularly prone to nondisjunction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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