The zona reaction in human oocytes as seen with scanning electron microscopy
1: Hum Reprod. 1994 Nov;9(11):2135-8. Nikas G, Paraschos T, Psychoyos A,
Handyside AH Laboratoire de Physiologie de la Reproduction, Hôpital Bicêtre, Bâtiment Gregory Pincus, INSERM, Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, France
Using scanning electron microscopy we found differences in the fine structure of the zona pellucida between unfertilized and fertilized human pronuclear stage oocytes in an in-vitro fertilization programme. In unfertilized oocytes, the zona pellucida appeared porous, comprising a large number of ring-shaped structures, called hoops, randomly superimposed in several layers. Superficial pores had a mean diameter of 4 microns, with the diameter decreasing in more inner lying pores.
In fertilized oocytes, the zona pellucida was compact; the hoops appeared to melt and the pores to be obliterated by an amorphous material emerging from the inner zona. The micrographs provide ultrastructural evidence of the zona reaction in human oocytes and give insights into the morphological and mechanical aspects of the polyspermy-blocking mechanism in humans.