The impact of cellular fragmentation induced experimentally at different stages of mouse preimplantation development

D. Dozortsev, A. Ermilov, D. M. El-Mowafi, M. Diamond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


It has been demonstrated that removal of acellular debris from the preimplantation mouse embryo is beneficial for subsequent development to the hatched blastocyst stage. We have studied the impact of cellular fragmentation induced in the mouse embryo during the late pronuclei and 8-cell stages on the hatching frequency and total cell number at the blastocyst stage. At the late pronuclei stage about one-quarter of the cytoplasm was removed from embryos in the experimental group, in four to six steps, thus creating four to six cytoplasts that were subsequently returned as anucleated fragments under the zona pellucida. Embryos with one-quarter of the cytoplasm removed and with intact cytoplasm after partial zona dissection (PZD) served as controls. At the 8-cell stage, embryos with their nucleoplast removed from two blastomeres served as an experimental group. Groups of embryos with part of the cytoplast removed from two blastomeres (nucleated fragments), embryos with two blastomeres removed and embryos after PZD alone served as controls. After manipulation all embryos were left in culture and analysed at about 100 h after human chorionic gonadotrophin administration. Fragments induced at the late pronuclei stage did not participate in compaction and were often spontaneously expelled from the embryo during hatching. Neither embryo hatching rate nor total cell number was affected when compared with zygotes with reduced cytoplasm. Although both nucleated and anucleated fragments induced at the 8-cell stage participated in recompaction, hatching was not compromised and there was no interference in further development as assessed by the cell number or hatching rate at the blastocyst stage, as compared with embryos with blastomeres removed. We conclude that anucleated cellular fragments formed in an otherwise healthy embryo, both before and after acquisition of the ability for compaction, are benign and that their removal provides no benefit for embryo development, at least to the hatched blastocyst stage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1307-1311
Number of pages5
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell cycle arrest
  • Cellular fragmentation
  • Embryonic development
  • Partial zona dissection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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