Human embryos developing in vitro are susceptible to impaired epithelial junction biogenesis correlating with abnormal metabolic activity
Authors: Eckert, Judith J.; Houghton, Franchesca D.; Hawkhead, Judith A.; Balen, Adam H.; Leese, Henry J.; Picton, Helen M.; Cameron, Iain T.; Fleming, Tom P.
Source: Human Reproduction, Volume 22, Number 8, 21 August 2007 , pp. 2214-2224(11)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Blastocyst biogenesis occurs over several cell cycles during the preimplantation period comprising the gradual expression and membrane assembly of junctional protein complexes which distinguish the outer epithelial trophectoderm (TE) cells from the inner cell mass (ICM). In the human, TE integrity and the formation of a junctional seal can often be impaired. Embryos likely to result in a successful pregnancy after transfer are mostly selected according to morphological criteria. Recent data suggest that non-invasive measurement of amino acid turnover may be useful to complement such morphological scores. Whether morphological and metabolic criteria can be linked to poor TE differentiation thereby underpinning developmental predictions mechanistically remains unknown.
We examined TE intercellular junction formation in human embryos by immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy and correlated this process with morphological criteria and amino acid turnover during late cleavage.
Our results show that TE differentiation may be compromised by failure of membrane assembly of specific junction constituents. This abnormality relates more closely to metabolic profiles than morphological criteria.
Our data identify that amino acid turnover can predict TE differentiation. These findings are the first to link two mechanisms, metabolism and junction membrane assembly, which contribute to early embryo development.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2007-08-21
- Human Reproduction features full-length, peer-reviewed papers reporting original research, clinical case histories, as well as opinions and debates on topical issues. Papers published cover the scientific and medical aspects of reproductive physiology and pathology, endocrinology, andrology, gonad function, gametogenesis, fertilization, embryo development, implantation, pregnancy, genetics, genetic diagnosis, oncology, infectious disease, surgery, contraception, infertility treatment, psychology, ethics and social issues. The highest scientific and editorial standard is maintained throughout the journal along with a rapid rate of publication.