Imaging mitochondrial organization in living primate oocytes and embryos using multiphoton microscopy

J. M. Squirrell*, R. D. Schramm, A. M. Paprocki, David L. Wokosin, Barry D. Bavister

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


We employed multiphoton laser scanning microscopy (MPLSM) to image changes in mitochondrial distribution in living rhesus monkey embryos. This method of imaging does not impair development; thus, the same specimen can be visualized multiple times at various developmental stages. Not only does this increase the amount of information that can be gathered on a single specimen but it permits the correlation of early events with subsequent development in the same specimen. Here we demonstrate the utility of MPLSM for determining changes in mitochondrial organization at various developmental stages and show that rhesus zygotes possess a distinct accumulation of mitochondria between the pronuclei prior to syngamy. We present evidence that suggests that this pronuclear accumulation may be positively correlated with development to the blastocyst stage - in the same embryo - thereby illustrating how MPLSM can be used to correlate cellular dynamics of primate oocytes and early embryos with their developmental potential. Understanding the relationship between mitochondrial distribution and the subsequent development of mammalian embryos, particularly primates, will increase our ability to improve embryo culture technologies, including those used for human assisted reproduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-201
Number of pages12
JournalMicroscopy and Microanalysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2003


  • Embryo
  • Laser scanning microscopy
  • Live imaging
  • Mitochondria
  • Multiphoton microscopy
  • Primate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation

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