Live-cell quantification and comparison of mammalian oocyte cytosolic lipid content between species, during development, and in relation to body composition using nonlinear vibrational microscopy
Cytosolic lipids participate in the growth, development, and overall health of mammalian oocytes including many roles in cellular homeostasis. Significant emphasis has been placed on the study of lipids as a dynamic organelle, which in turn requires the development of tools and techniques to quantitate and compare how lipid content relates to cellular structure, function, and normalcy. Objectives of this study were to determine if nonlinear vibrational microscopy (e.g., coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering or CARS microscopy) could be used for live-cell imaging to quantify and compare lipid content in mammalian oocytes during development and in relation to body composition; and compare its efficacy to methods involving cellular fixation and staining protocols. Results of this study demonstrate that CARS is able to identify lipids in live mammalian oocytes, and there exists quantifiable and consistent differences in percent lipid composition across ooctyes of different species, developmental stages, and in relation to body composition. Such a method of live-cell lipid quantification has (i) experimental power in basic cell biology, (ii) practical utility for identifying developmental predictive biomarkers while advancing biology-based oocyte/embryo selection, and (iii) ability to yield rationally supporting technology for decision-making in rodents, domestic species, and human assisted reproduction and/or fertility preservation.