2013 Volume 59 Issue 6 Pages 549-556
Mitochondria are reported to be critical in in vitro maturation of oocytes and subsequent embryo development after fertilization, but their contribution for fertilization has not been investigated in detail. In the present study, we investigate the contribution of mitochondria to fertilization using reconstructed porcine oocytes by fusion of ooplasmic fragments produced by serial centrifugations (centri-fusion). Firstly, we evaluated the characteristics of ooplasmic fragments. Three types of fragments were obtained by centrifugation of porcine oocytes matured in vitro for 46 h: brownish (B), transparent (T) and large (L) fragments containing both B and T parts in a fragment. The production efficiencies of these types of fragments were 71.7, 91.0 and 17.8 fragments/100 oocytes, respectively. In experiments, L fragments were excluded because they contained both brownish and transparent components that were apparently intermediate between B and T fragments. Observations by confocal microscopy after staining with MitoTracker Red CMXRos® and transmission electron microscopy revealed highly condensed active mitochondria in B fragments in contrast to T fragments that contained only sparse organelles. We reconstructed oocytes by fusion of a karyoplast and two cytoplasts from B and T fragments (B and T oocytes, respectively). The B oocytes showed higher sperm penetration (95.8%) and male pronuclear formation rates (94.2%) by in vitro fertilization than T oocytes (66.7% and 50.0%, respectively). These results suggest that the active mitochondria in oocytes may be related to their ability for fertilization.