Analysis of chromosome segregation, histone acetylation, and spindle morphology in horse oocytes

Federica Franciosi, Irene Tessaro, Rozenn Dalbies-Tran, Cecile Douet, Fabrice Reigner, Stefan Deleuze, Pascal Papillier, Ileana Miclea, Valentina Lodde, Alberto M. Luciano, Ghylene Goudet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The field of assisted reproduction has been developed to treat infertility in women, companion animals, and endangered species. In the horse, assisted reproduction also allows for the production of embryos from high performers without interrupting their sports career and contributes to an increase in the number of foals from mares of high genetic value. The present manuscript describes the procedures used for collecting immature and mature oocytes from horse ovaries using ovum pick-up (OPU). These oocytes were then used to investigate the incidence of aneuploidy by adapting a protocol previously developed in mice. Specifically, the chromosomes and the centromeres of metaphase II (MII) oocytes were fluorescently labeled and counted on sequential focal plans after confocal laser microscope scanning. This analysis revealed a higher incidence in the aneuploidy rate when immature oocytes were collected from the follicles and matured in vitro compared to in vivo. Immunostaining for tubulin and the acetylated form of histone four at specific lysine residues also revealed differences in the morphology of the meiotic spindle and in the global pattern of histone acetylation. Finally, the expression of mRNAs coding for histone deacetylases (HDACs) and acetyl-transferases (HATs) was investigated by reverse transcription and quantitative-PCR (q-PCR). No differences in the relative expression of transcripts were observed between in vitro and in vivo matured oocytes. In agreement with a general silencing of the transcriptional activity during oocyte maturation, the analysis of the total transcript amount can only reveal mRNA stability or degradation. Therefore, these findings indicate that other translational and post-translational regulations might be affected. Overall, the present study describes an experimental approach to morphologically and biochemically characterize the horse oocyte, a cell type that is extremely challenging to study due to low sample availability. However, it can expand our knowledge on the reproductive biology and infertility in monovulatory species.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere55242
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number123
Publication statusPublished - May 11 2017


  • Aneuploidy
  • Assisted reproduction
  • Developmental Biology
  • Epigenetic
  • Histone acetyl-transferase
  • Histone deacetylase
  • Issue 123
  • Meiosis
  • Metaphase
  • Oocyte maturation
  • Ovum pick-up

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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