Sperm-derived mitochondria are integrated into the oocyte at fertilization but seem to vanish during the early cleavage phase. The developmental potential of pre-implantation embryos seems to be closely related to their ability to induce degeneration of these mitochondria, but the mechanisms underlying their loss of function are not yet understood. This study focuses on the fate of paternal mitochondria in pre-implantation embryos.Methods
Stimulation, collection and in vitro culture of oocytes from Callithrix jacchus, allows the study of the destiny of paternal mitochondria by utilizing immunostaining of pre-implantation embryos, fluorescence and laserscanning microscopy. Live pre-implantation embryos were stained with a fluorescence indicator reflecting mitochondrial membrane potential.Results
Evidence indicating the loss of mitochondrial function was not found nor that apoptosis pathways were involved in the disappearance of paternally derived mitochondria.Conclusions
These findings may have implications for mitochondrially inherited diseases and could lead to new strategies for improving assisted reproduction.