Polar body morphology and spindle imaging as predictors of oocyte quality

Lucia De Santis, Ilaria Cino, Elisa Rabellotti, Federico Calzi, Paola Persico, Andrea Borini, Giovanni Goticchio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It has been suggested that first polar body (PBI) morphology reflects oocyte competence. Oocytes with an intact normal-sized PBI have been described as generating better day 2 embryos, higher blastocyst yield, and increased pregnancy and implantation rates. In other studies, PBI morphology was found to be unrelated to fertilization rate, embryo quality, and blastocyst formation. In a prospective analysis, the predictive value of the PBI was investigated by comparing the development of oocytes retrieved from intracytoplasmic sperm injection patients and displaying different PBI morphology, classified according to the following characteristics: normal size and smooth surface (I), fragmented (II), rough surface (III), or large size (IV). Fertilization rates were 59, 57, 64 and 60% respectively. No significant differences were found between the various groups. The proportions of high quality (grade A) day 2 embryos were also comparable among groups I-III (14, 12 and 17% respectively), while the low number of grade A embryos in group IV (two embryos) did not allow comparison with the other classes. These data do not suggest that PBI selection can contribute to identification of embryos with high developmental ability. In order to establish alternative criteria for oocyte selection, a metaphase II (MII) spindle analysis was also conducted via Polscope. In oocytes of patients of different age, spindle retardance (which reflects the high order and density of microtubules) was compared with parameters of embryo development. In aged patients, a trend was observed between low retardance and poor embryo quality, although in general the association between retardance and oocyte developmental performance did not reach statistical significance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-42
Number of pages7
JournalReproductive BioMedicine Online
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005


  • Ageing oocyte
  • First polar body
  • Meiotic spindle
  • Retardance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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