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author:("hajduk, Anna")
1.  Advances in embryo selection methods 
Despite many recent advances in the field of reproductive biology and medicine, the efficiency of in vitro fertilization procedures remains relatively low. There is a need for a reliable and non-invasive method of embryo selection to ensure that only embryos with the highest developmental potential are chosen for transfer to mothers-to-be. Here, we compare various methods currently used for assessing embryonic viability, such as examination of embryonic morphology, quality of the genetic material, or metabolism. Additionally, we discuss novel procedures for embryonic assessment based on advanced time-lapse imaging techniques, which show great promise and may lead to increased in vitro fertilization efficiencies.
doi:10.3410/B4-11
PMCID: PMC3369238  PMID: 22685489
2.  Rhythmic actomyosin-driven contractions induced by sperm entry predict mammalian embryo viability 
Nature Communications  2011;2:417-.
Fertilization-induced cytoplasmic flows are a conserved feature of eggs in many species. However, until now the importance of cytoplasmic flows for the development of mammalian embryos has been unknown. Here, by combining a rapid imaging of the freshly fertilized mouse egg with advanced image analysis based on particle image velocimetry, we show that fertilization induces rhythmical cytoplasmic movements that coincide with pulsations of the protrusion forming above the sperm head. We find that these movements are caused by contractions of the actomyosin cytoskeleton triggered by Ca2+ oscillations induced by fertilization. Most importantly, the relationship between the movements and the events of egg activation makes it possible to use the movements alone to predict developmental potential of the zygote. In conclusion, this method offers, thus far, the earliest and fastest, non-invasive way to predict the viability of eggs fertilized in vitro and therefore can potentially improve greatly the prospects for IVF treatment.
Cytoplasmic flows—the movement of cytoplasmic material—can be detected following the fertilization of an egg by a sperm in many species. In this study, rhythmic cytoplasmic flows are shown to be induced in mice by calcium-induced cytoskeleton contractions which could be used to predict the successful outcome of fertilization.
doi:10.1038/ncomms1424
PMCID: PMC3265380  PMID: 21829179
3.  Mouse oocytes fertilised by ICSI during in vitro maturation retain the ability to be activated after refertilisation in metaphase II and can generate Ca2+ oscillations 
Background
At fertilisation, mammalian oocytes are activated by oscillations of intracellular Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i). Phospholipase Cζ, which is introduced by fertilising spermatozoon, triggers [Ca2+]i oscillations through the generation of inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate (IP3), which causes Ca2+ release by binding to IP3 receptors located on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of the oocyte. Ability to respond to this activating stimulus develops during meiotic maturation of the oocyte. Here we examine how the development of this ability is perturbed when a single spermatozoon is introduced into the oocyte prematurely, i.e. during oocyte maturation.
Results
Mouse oocytes during maturation in vitro were fertilised by ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) 1 – 4 h after germinal vesicle break-down (GVBD) and were subsequently cultured until they reached metaphase II (MII) stage. At MII stage they were fertilised in vitro for the second time (refertilisation). We observed that refertilised oocytes underwent activation with similar frequency as control oocytes, which also went through maturation in vitro, but were fertilised only once at MII stage (87% and 93%, respectively). Refertilised MII oocytes were able to develop [Ca2+]i oscillations in response to penetration by spermatozoa. We found however, that they generated a lower number of transients than control oocytes. We also showed that the oocytes, which were fertilised during maturation had a similar level of MPF activity as control oocytes, which were not subjected to ICSI during maturation, but had reduced level of IP3 receptors.
Conclusion
Mouse oocytes, which were experimentally fertilised during maturation retain the ability to generate repetitive [Ca2+]i transients, and to be activated after completion of maturation.
doi:10.1186/1471-213X-7-72
PMCID: PMC1913504  PMID: 17584490

Results 1-3 (3)