Exploration of the cytoplasmic function of abnormally fertilized embryos via novel pronuclear-stage cytoplasmic transfer

Ayako Fujimine-Sato, Takashi Kuno, Keiko Higashi, Atsushi Sugawara, Hiroaki Hiraga, Aiko Takahashi, Keiko Tanaka, Emi Yokoyama, Naomi Shiga, Zen Watanabe, Nobuo Yaegashi, Masahito Tachibana

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1 Citation (Scopus)


In regular IVF, a portion of oocytes exhibit abnormal numbers of pronuclei (PN) that is considered as abnormal fertilization, and they are routinely discarded. However, it is known that abnormal ploidy still does not completely abandon embryo development and implantation. To explore the potential of cytoplasm from those abnormally fertilized oocytes, we developed a novel technique for the transfer of large cytoplasm between pronuclear-stage mouse embryos, and assessed its impact. A large volume of cytoplast could be efficiently transferred in the PN stage using a novel two-step method of pronuclear-stage cytoplasmic transfer (PNCT). PNCT revealed the difference in the cytoplasmic function among abnormally fertilized embryos where the cytoplasm of 3PN was developmentally more competent than 1PN, and the supplementing of fresh 3PN cytoplasm restored the impaired developmental potential of postovulatory “aged” oocytes. PNCT-derived embryos harbored significantly higher mitochondrial DNA copies, ATP content, oxygen consumption rate, and total cells. The difference in cytoplasmic function between 3PN and 1PN mouse oocytes probably attributed to the proper activation via sperm and may impact subsequent epigenetic events. These results imply that PNCT may serve as a potential alternative treatment to whole egg donation for patients with age-related recurrent IVF failure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8765
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Aug 2


  • Abnormal fertilization
  • Cytoplasmic deficiency
  • Cytoplasmic transfer
  • Mitochondria
  • Preimplantation


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