The zona pellucida (ZP) is a thick glycoprotein shell surrounding the mammalian egg cell (oocyte) that regulates spermatozoa access during fertilization and protects the zygote during early embryonic development . Hardening of the zona pellucida over the cell fertilization cycle is a well-recognized phenomenon and has been investigated using contact methods to measure shear and bending elasticity from indentation and micropipette aspiration [2, 3]. However, the area elasticity of the ZP, which provides resistance to cell swelling under variable osmotic environments, has not yet been reported. A recently devised theoretical model  suggests that the ZP area expansion modulus may be determined through non-contact hypo-osmotic loading of the oocyte. If successful, this method may be suited for implementation by practicing fertility health professionals during routine manipulation.
- Bioengineering Division
Influence of Zona Pellucida Area Expansion Stiffness on the Passive Response of Oocytes to Osmotic Loading
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Oungoulian, SR, Chan, K, Barritt, J, McDonald, CA, Copperman, AB, Elad, D, & Ateshian, GA. "Influence of Zona Pellucida Area Expansion Stiffness on the Passive Response of Oocytes to Osmotic Loading." Proceedings of the ASME 2011 Summer Bioengineering Conference. ASME 2011 Summer Bioengineering Conference, Parts A and B. Farmington, Pennsylvania, USA. June 22–25, 2011. pp. 411-412. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/SBC2011-53826
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