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22 December 2021 Design of novel oocyte activation methods: the role of zinc
Kyungjun Uh, Alayna Hay, Paula Chen, Emily Reese, Kiho Lee
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Oocyte activation occurs at the time of fertilization and is a series of cellular events initiated by intracellular Ca2+ increases. Consequently, oocytes are alleviated from their arrested state in meiotic metaphase II (MII), allowing for the completion of meiosis. Oocyte activation is also an essential step for somatic cell nuclear transfer and an important tool to overcome clinical infertility. Traditional artificial activation methods aim to mimic the intracellular Ca2+ changes which occur during fertilization. Recent studies emphasize the importance of cytoplasmic Zn2+ on oocyte maturation and the completion of meiosis, thus suggesting artificial oocyte activation approaches that are centered around the concentration of available Zn2+ in oocytes. Depletion of intracellular Zn2+ in oocytes with heavy metal chelators leads to successful oocyte activation in the absence of cellular Ca2+ changes, indicating that successful oocyte activation does not always depends on intracellular Ca2+ increases. Current findings lead to new approaches to artificially activate mammalian oocytes by reducing available Zn2+ contents, and the approaches improve the outcome of oocyte activation when combined with existing Ca2+-based oocyte activation methods. Here, we review the important role of Ca2+ and Zn2+ in mammalian oocyte activation and development of novel oocyte activation approaches based on Zn2+ availability.

Summary Sentence Artificial oocyte activation is essential for the application of Assisted Reproductive Technology and the ability to control the level of cytoplasmic zinc can facilitate oocyte activation process.

© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Society for the Study of Reproduction. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:
Kyungjun Uh, Alayna Hay, Paula Chen, Emily Reese, and Kiho Lee "Design of novel oocyte activation methods: the role of zinc," Biology of Reproduction 106(2), 264-273, (22 December 2021).
Received: 25 August 2021; Accepted: 15 December 2021; Published: 22 December 2021
embryo development
Oocyte activation
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