Mitochondrial aggregation patterns and activity in porcine oocytes and apoptosis in surrounding cumulus cells depends on the stage of pre-ovulatory maturation

H. Torner, K. P. Brüssow, H. Alm, J. Ratky, R. Pöhland, A. Tuchscherer, W. Kanitz

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110 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we evaluated the distribution and oxidative activity of mitochondria in ex vivo pre-ovulatory porcine oocytes using the fluorescence probe MitoTracker CMTM Ros Orange. Cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) were classified according to cumulus morphology and time from hCG administration. The meiotic configuration of the oocytes and the degree of apoptosis in the surrounding cumulus cells were also evaluated. Estrus was synchronized in 45 crossbred Landrace gilts by feeding altrenogest for 15 days and administering 1000 IU PMSG on Day 16. The LH peak was simulated by treatment with 500 IU hCG, given 80 h after PMSG. Endoscopic oocyte recovery was carried out 2 h before or 10, 22, or 34 h after hCG administration. Altogether 454 COCs were aspirated from follicles with a diameter of more than 5 mm. Cumulus morphology in the majority of COCs recovered 2 h before and 10 h after hCG was compact (60.4 and 52.7%, respectively; P < 0.05). At 22 h after hCG, COC morphology changed significantly from 10 h dramatically: 74% of COCs had an expanded cumulus (P < 0.01). At 34 h after hCG, 100% of recovered COCs had an expanded cumulus. The percentage of oocytes with a mature meiotic configuration differed among COC morphologies and increased as the interval after hCG administration increased (P < 0.05). The type of mitochondrial distribution in the oocytes (n = 336) changed from homogeneous to heterogeneous as the interval after hCG administration increased (P < 0.01) and was associated with the cumulus morphology. Representative mitochondrial distributions were found as follows: -2 h: fine homogeneous in compact and dispersed COCs; 10 h: granulated homogeneous in compact and dispersed COCs; 22 h: granulated homogeneous in expanded COCs; and 34 h: granulated heterogeneous and clustered heterogeneous in expanded COCs (P < 0.01). The oxidative activity of mitochondria measured by fluorescence intensity (Em: 570 nm) per oocyte after Mitotracker CMTM Ros Orange labeling increased in the oocyte as the post-hCG interval increased (P < 0.01) and depended on the type of mitochondrial distribution. Lowest oxidative activity of mitochondria was found in oocytes with fine homogeneous distribution (253.1 ± 9.4 μA). The oxidative activity increased (334. 4 ± 10.3 μA) in oocytes with granulated homogeneous distribution of mitochondria, and reached highest level in oocytes with granulated heterogeneous (400.9 ± 13.0 μA) and clustered heterogeneous distributions (492.8 ± 13.9 μA) (P < 0.01). Mitochondrial activity in oocytes coincided with apoptosis in surrounding cumulus cells which increased in a time-dependent manner during pre-ovulatory maturation in vivo (P < 0.01). These results indicate that there is a relationship between meiotic progression, cumulus expansion and mitochondrial redistribution and their oxidative activity during final pre-ovulatory maturation in pig oocytes. It appears that increased levels of mitochondrial activities in oocytes are correlated to increased levels of apoptosis in surrounding cumulus cells, in which mitochondria may play a role.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1675-1689
Number of pages15
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2004


  • Apoptosis
  • Mitochondrial activity
  • Porcine oocytes
  • Pre-ovulatory maturation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals
  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Equine

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