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Open Access Research article

Effects of dimethyl sulfoxide on asymmetric division and cytokinesis in mouse oocytes

Dongjie Zhou, Xinghui Shen, Yanli Gu, Na Zhang, Tong Li, Xi Wu and Lei Lei*

Author Affiliations

Department of Histology and Embryology, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China

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BMC Developmental Biology 2014, 14:28  doi:10.1186/1471-213X-14-28

Published: 21 June 2014

Abstract

Background

Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is used extensively as a permeable cryoprotectant and is a common solvent utilized for several water-insoluble substances. DMSO has various biological and pharmacological activities; however, the effect of DMSO on mouse oocyte meiotic maturation remains unknown.

Results

In DMSO-treated oocytes, we observed abnormal MII oocytes that contained large polar bodies, including 2-cell–like MII oocytes, during in vitro maturation. Oocyte polarization did not occur, due to the absence of actin cap formation and spindle migration. These features are among the primary causes of abnormal symmetric division; however, analysis of the mRNA expression levels of genes related to asymmetric division revealed no significant difference in the expression of these factors between the 3% DMSO-treated group and the control group. After each “blastomere” of the 2-cell–like MII stage oocytes was injected by one sperm head respectively, the oocytes still possessed the ability to extrude the second polar body from each “blastomere” and to begin cleavage. However, MII oocytes with large polar bodies developed to the blastocyst stage after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Furthermore, other permeable cryoprotectants, such as ethylene glycol and glycerol, also caused asymmetric division failure.

Conclusion

Permeable cryoprotectants, such as DMSO, ethylene glycol, and glycerol, affect asymmetric division. DMSO disrupts cytokinesis completion by inhibiting cortical reorganization and polarization. Oocytes that undergo symmetric division maintain the ability to begin cleavage after ICSI.

Keywords:
Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO); Asymmetric division; Actin cap; Spindle migration; Oocyte maturation