A review of the promises and pitfalls of oocyte and embryo metabolomics

L. Nel-Themaat, P. Nagy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Embryo viability assessment is one of the most important and challenging tasks in IVF. Evaluation of embryo quality is critical when selecting the best embryo(s) to transfer or cryopreserve. Until recently, the only instrument used for embryo evaluation was the inverted light microscope, which provided information based on morphological characteristics. Developmental and morphological information gained from microscopic assessment have been positively associated with IVF outcomes, including pregnancy and implantation rates. However, based on general statistics, it is clear that IVF currently still results in relatively low pregnancy rates, while simultaneously being associated with relatively high multiple implantation rates. Only with novel embryo assessment and selection procedures would it be possible to improve these outcomes. Accordingly, it has been proposed that it is possible to test the culture environment of a developing embryo to gain valuable information regarding its viability. Different approaches have been used. These include the measurement of oxygen consumption by the embryo and testing of the soluble HLA-G in the environment, as it was proposed that secretion of HLA-G is associated with higher implantation rates. Amino acid turnover, which appears to be correlated to blastocyst development, can be measured as an indication of embryo viability. Other approaches, such as time-lapse video observation or cumulus cell gene expression analysis, may be used in the future to gain a broader understanding of embryo viability. Proteomics and metabolomics are also useful tools for assessment of embryo developmental potential. Results from recent studies on predicting embryo viability by analyzing the metabolome of different stage embryos are promising, as increases in pregnancy and implantation rates were obtained using the metabolomic profile for embryo selection. Several novel approaches are currently being developed to aid in viability assessment. These need to be evaluated in prospective clinical trials, while considering their practicality in the clinical laboratory.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlacenta
Volume32
Issue numberSUPPL. 3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011

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Metabolomics
Oocytes
Embryonic Structures
Pregnancy Rate
HLA-G Antigens
Cumulus Cells
Metabolome
Blastocyst
Oxygen Consumption
Proteomics

Keywords

  • Embryo
  • In vitro fertilization
  • Metabolomics
  • Oocyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Developmental Biology

Cite this

A review of the promises and pitfalls of oocyte and embryo metabolomics. / Nel-Themaat, L.; Nagy, P.

In: Placenta, Vol. 32, No. SUPPL. 3, 09.2011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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