The transgenerational effects of oocyte mitochondrial supplementation

Justin C. St. John, Yogeshwar Makanji, Jacqueline L. Johnson, Te Sha Tsai, Simone Lagondar, Fleur Rodda, Xin Sun, Mulyoto Pangestu, Penny Chen, Peter Temple-Smith

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Many women suffer from either failed fertilisation or their embryos arrest early during development. Autologous mitochondrial supplementation has been proposed as an assisted reproductive technology to overcome these problems. However, its safety remains to be tested in an animal model to determine if there are transgenerational effects. We have supplemented oocytes with autologous populations of mitochondria to generate founders. We mated the female founders and their offspring to produce three generations. We assessed litter size, the ovarian reserve, and weight gain and conducted a full histopathological analysis from each of the three generations. Across the generations, we observed significant increases in litter size and in the number of primordial follicles in the ovary matched by changes in global gene expression patterns for these early-stage oocytes. However, full histopathological analysis revealed that cardiac structure was compromised in first and second generation offspring, which could seriously affect the health of the offspring. Furthermore, the offspring were prone to increased weight gain during early life. Mitochondrial supplementation appears to perturb the regulation of the chromosomal genome resulting in transgenerational phenotypic gains and losses. These data highlight the need for caution when using autologous mitochondrial supplementation to treat female factor infertility.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6694
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

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