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® 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. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.

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