Phospholipase C-ζ-induced Ca2+ oscillations cause coincident cytoplasmic movements in human oocytes that failed to fertilize after intracytoplasmic sperm injection

PLCz-induced Ca2+ oscillations in human oocytes that failed to fertilize after intracytoplasmic sperm injection cause small, discrete movements in the cytoplasm that provide a noninvasive measure of the pattern of Ca2+ transients during activation.

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Karl Swann, Ph.D., Shane Windsor, Ph.D., Karen Campbell, Ph.D., Khalil Elgmati, M.Sc., Michail Nomikos, Ph.D., Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, Ph.D., Nazar Amso, Ph.D., F. Anthony Lai, Ph.D., Adrian Thomas, Ph.D., Christopher Graham, D.Phil.

Volume 97, Issue 3, Pages 742-747



To evaluate the imaging of cytoplasmic movements in human oocytes as a potential method to monitor the pattern of Ca2+ oscillations during activation.


Test of a laboratory technique.


University medical school research laboratory.


Donated unfertilized human oocytes from intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) cycles.


Microinjection of oocytes with phospholipase C (PLC) zeta (ζ) cRNA and a Ca2+-sensitive fluorescent dye.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Simultaneous detection of oocyte cytoplasmic movements using particle image velocimetry (PIV) and of Ca2+ oscillations using a Ca2+-sensitive fluorescent dye.


Microinjection of PLCζ cRNA into human oocytes that had failed to fertilize after ICSI resulted in the appearance of prolonged Ca2+ oscillations. Each transient Ca2+ concentration change was accompanied by a small coordinated movement of the cytoplasm that could be detected using PIV analysis.


The occurrence and frequency of cytoplasmic Ca2+ oscillations, a critical parameter in activating human zygotes, can be monitored by PIV analysis of cytoplasmic movements. This simple method provides a novel, noninvasive approach to determine in real time the occurrence and frequency of Ca2+ oscillations in human zygotes.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.