A new approach to evaluate aging effects on human oocytes Fourier transform infrared imaging spectroscopy study

By using Focal Plane Array Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, evidence of damage from aging on human oocytes was pinpointed in the composition and distribution of the principal biocomponents (proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids).

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Giorgia Gioacchini, Ph.D., Elisabetta Giorgini, Ph.D., Lisa Vaccari, Ph.D., Paolo Ferraris, Ph.D., Simona Sabbatini, Ph.D., Veronica Bianchi, Ph.D., Andrea Borini, Ph.D., M.D., Oliana Carnevali, Ph.D.

Volume 101, Issue 1, Pages 120-127, January 2014



To characterize from a vibrational point of view the alterations caused by aging on human oocytes.


Reproductive biology.


Private assisted reproductive technology clinic, synchrotron beam line, and university infrared laboratory.


Twenty women of different ages (30 ± 2 and 39 ± 2 years) selected on the basis of detailed inclusion criteria and submitted to controlled ovarian stimulation according to a specific protocol.


Collection of 68 supernumerary oocytes that were not used during the IVF cycle from the above cited consenting patients.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Focal Plane Array Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) analysis of human oocytes.


Specific spectral differences were highlighted in the two experimental groups of oocytes. In particular, in oocytes of 39-year-old women, the occurrence of peroxidative processes and a decrease in the amount of carbohydrates were observed, together with alterations in the phospholipid membrane, proteic pattern, and nucleic acids content.


For the first time, FTIR spectroscopy was applied to human oocytes, leading to strong evidence of damage from aging in the gametes of mature women, which could be related to a decline in reproductive function. All the information obtained may be considered useful to improve the scientific knowledge on human reproduction and to exploit new strategies for detecting oocyte aging.

Read the full text at: http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(13)03062-8/fulltext

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.