Quantitative morphokinetic parameters identify novel dynamics of oocyte meiotic maturation and cumulus expansion

Chanakarn Suebthawinkul, Elnur Babayev, Luhan Tracy Zhou, Hoi Chang Lee, Francesca E. Duncan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Meiotic maturation and cumulus expansion are essential for the generation of a developmentally competent gamete, and both processes can be recapitulated in vitro. We used a closed time-lapse incubator (EmbryoScope+™) to establish morphokinetic parameters of meiotic progression and cumulus expansion in mice and correlated these outcomes with egg ploidy. The average time to germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD), time to first polar body extrusion (PBE), and duration of meiosis I were 0.91 ± 0.01, 8.82 ± 0.06, and 7.93 ± 0.06 h, respectively. The overall rate of cumulus layer expansion was 0.091 ± 0.002 μm/min, and the velocity of expansion peaked during the first 8 h of in vitro maturation (IVM) and then slowed. IVM of oocytes exposed to Nocodazole, a microtubule disrupting agent, and cumulus oocyte complexes (COCs) to 4-methylumbelliferone, a hyaluronan synthesis inhibitor, resulted in a dose-dependent perturbation of morphokinetics, thereby validating the system. The incidence of euploidy following IVM was >90% for both denuded oocytes and intact COCs. No differences were observed between euploid and aneuploid eggs with respect to time to GVBD (0.90 ± 0.22 vs. 0.97 ± 0.19 h), time to PBE (8.89 ± 0.98 vs. 9.10 ± 1.42 h), duration of meiosis I (8.01 ± 0.91 vs. 8.13 ± 1.38 h), and overall rate and kinetics of cumulus expansion (0.089 ± 0.02 vs 0.088 ± 0.03 μm/min) (P > 0.05). These morphokinetic parameters provide novel quantitative and non-invasive metrics for the evaluation of meiotic maturation and cumulus expansion and will enable screening compounds that modulate these processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1097-1112
Number of pages16
JournalBiology of reproduction
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022


  • cumulus expansion
  • embryoscope
  • in vitro maturation
  • meiotic progression
  • morphokinetics
  • oocyte maturation
  • time-lapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine


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